>> 3 March 2008
Today I would like to share a book with you that was a very engrossing experience for me.
The book is called SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts.
The novel is based on Roberts' life - oh and what a life it is!
Roberts, an Australian, is thrown in jail for armed robberies conducted to support his heroin habit. He escapes from that prison and arrives in Bombay where he learns the language, lives in a slum where he sets up a clinic for slum dwellers, gets recruited by the Bombay mafia for whom he does currency crime, gold and passport smuggling, spends time in prison in India and joins mujaheddin fighters in an operation in Afghanistan.
Despite all the crime, Roberts is a tough guy with a big heart. Although I condemn his outlaw escapades, he is a very good writer and poet. Every sentence rings true and he manages to pass on some phyolosophical wisdom. It is fascinating to be taken on this adventurous journey where each incident is more mindblowing than the one before. I lived with Roberts as he sank into the deepest depths and I smiled with him when he rose to glories. It is a page-turner of a book, full of surprises and the over 900 pages never seem long. It is an epic devoid of sentimentality but filled with harrowing experiences, true laughter and tears which jump from the pages and grip your heart. All the characters in his novel are so alive and real that I was actually disappointed to find out they are fictitious.
Roberts has sold the rights of his novel to Johnny Depp and Warner Brothers and the movie is likely to be released next year.
I recommend you go out, get it and savour it.