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By Gregory David Roberts

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Format: Paperback, 944 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 24 March 2005
In 1978, gifted student and writer Greg Roberts turned to heroin when his marriage collapsed, feeding his addiction with a string of robberies. Caught and convicted, he was given a nineteen-year sentence. After two years, he escaped from a maximum- security prison, spending the next ten years on the run as Australia's most wanted man. Hiding in Bombay, he established a medical clinic for slum- dwellers, worked in the Bollywood film industry and served time in the notorious Arthur Road prison. He was recruited by one of the most charismatic branches of the Bombay mafia for whom he worked as a forger, counterfeiter, and smuggler, and fought alongside a unit of mujaheddin guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. His debut novel, SHANTARAM, is based on this ten-year period of his life in Bombay. The result is an epic tale of slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison torture, mafia gang wars and Bollywood films. A gripping adventure story, SHANTARAM is also a superbly written meditation on good and evil and an authentic evocation of Bombay life.

Promotional Information

* National press ad campaign targeting the travel supplements - placing TBC * Ad in Waterstone's Books Quarterly * Consumer competition to win a fantastic trip for 2 to India * Review round-ups * Submitted for trade promotions * Reading copies available

About the Author

Greg Roberts was born in Melbourne. He speaks four languages and has travelled widely in Asia, Africa and Europe. He is now a full-time writer.


* 'Powerful and original ... a remarkable achievement' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH * 'Extraordinarily vivid ... a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga' DAILY MAIL * 'A publishing phenomenon' SUNDAY TIMES * 'Vivid and compassionate ... impressive' GUARDIAN At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision' Time Out

With the grand sweep and scale of a Bollywood movie, Shantaram is unlike any other Australian novel for quite some time. It recounts the experiences of Lin, a loosely fictionalised character based on the author, the so-called Building Society Bandit who escaped from a Victorian maximum-security prison in 1980 and fled to India. Lin moves in different circles in steamy Bombay, from indolent expats on the run from reality to ever-smiling slum dwellers who cannot escape from their plight. His adventures take him to the homes of Bombay Mafioso, through the hellhole of the Colaba police station and into Afghanistan running guns to the mujaheddin. Although at times Roberts' text is over- written and his dialogue stilted, this is a rip-roaring read. At 933 pages the book stands out, but it is all the more remarkable because it is based on second-to-none, first-hand experience. Full of jailhouse philosophy, human frailty and resilience, Sufi wisdom and street-fighting tactics, Shantaram is by turns inspiring, hair raising and poignant. This warts-and-all Indian epic details the myriad struggles, triumphs, heartbreaks and joys of life on the subcontinent-- expect it to become a must-read for backpackers and long-haul airline passengers, as was The Beach. William Gourlay is a Melbourne-based editor, reviewer and sometime travel writer. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

EAN: 9780349117546
ISBN: 0349117543
Publisher: Abacus
Dimensions: 19.5 x 13.2 x 4.4 centimetres (0.48 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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8 review(s)
All Reviews
james boyce on
this book had me gripped until the end, a magnificent tale with surprises in each chapter. probably the best autobiography i have read, i am eagerly waiting until some time has passed so i can read it again. Roberts is a wonderful writer and sounds like a perfect addition to a dinner party. an adventure story with genuine emotion and adrenaline.
Kirrily McWilliams on
Excellent. Could not put down. Highly Recommended.
Anonymous on
Possibly the best biography i have ever read. Gripping, exciting, emotive and inspirational every single page. 5 stars.
Lee Reemst on
The best review for this book stated (I'm not verbatim), "It's the only book I've read that makes you want to live in an Indian slum." I couldn't say it any better. It's a wonderful book, although I did skip a bit through the philosophical discussions on religion. It's one of the better books where you were there living it.
Daniel Joubert on
An excellent book, with great language use and a very captivating journey.
Philippa Clarkson on
Despite its flaws, of being long and perhaps a little self-aggrandising, this is a gripping and sometimes hilarious story full of memorable characters - especially Prabaker. It is full on and in parts I found it disturbing or depressing, and I don't feel like we know who the main character is, he turns up in India a full fledged warrior/criminal without much backstory. Nonetheless it is such a vivid and fascinating book that I would recommend it.
Kerrie Cochrane on
SHANTARAM is an excellent read.This was recommended to me by a friend and I just could not put this book down.Probably one the best autobiography i have read in awhile.I highly recommend.
I didn't enjoy this story. As far as autobiographies go, I found it somewhat unbelievable and I think the author did alot of embellishing. I had to push myself to finish it.

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