Book Review of Shantaram

By Toby Gill

Shantaram was first published in 2003 and to this day, it remains one of my favorite books because of a number of reasons. Apart from being an amazing autobiography, there is enough spice and drama in every chapter to keep you hooked till the end. No wonder, then, that this book is still a bestseller and is the real life account of Roberts, the author, an escapee from an Australian prison.

The novel starts once Roberts escapes from the prison and comes to India and the experiences and events explained in the book are part of the ten years that he ends up spending in India. His future life and ultimately his destiny are shaped in the city of Mumbai where he ends up meeting people from various parts of life.

The book, Shantaram, is not like one of those boring biographical accounts that one normally comes across. Instead, such is the pace of the book that it feels as if one is watching a movie. For example, the way how the author gets the name Shantaram, meaning Man of Peace, is a wonderful little story in itself.

Lin, the author, tends to return back to his old criminal ways every now and then despite trying hard to love and honest life. He, however, realizes his mistake each time and tries to make amends for it and it's because of this reason that I really liked the book. It carries a deep, underlying message that the path of evil will always tempt us but we can return back to the righteous path if we choose to.

There is another sub-plot within the book and that regard Shantaram's love interest by the name of Carla. In between the novel, Shantaram also travels abroad to Africa, dealing in illegal arms trade but ultimately returns back to India. Only when his mentor and friend does, does Roberts realize his mistake and vows to live an honest man's life.

Lin decides to continue with his journey and travel to Sri Lanka which makes me think that there is a sequel planned to this book. A must read for everyone, I personally found Shantaram an amazing book. It can be bough from any leading book-chain although it's always more convenient and cheaper to order it online

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