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Found 1 result

  1. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts I'm having problems writing a review of this book. The blurb starts 'In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum'. It goes on to outline the heroic escapades that he experiences along the way (money launderer, Bollywood actor, forger, free health clinic doctor, fighter of the Mujahedeen, imprisonment and torture. This guy is superhuman...). The schtick of the book suggests that while this is fiction, a lot of the events actually happened. My problem really is one that I commonly have, it's a 933 page epic which starts really well with the 'hero' falling in love with the city, the Indian people and a lady but soon loses its way. Stuff happens, things go wrong, hence he ends up in the slum. So far so good. Then he falls under the spell of a Mafia-style don and it all gets ridiculous. And there is sooooooo much new-age half-baked psychology and soul searching. The don is the father he never had, all the characters quote words of wisdom from other characters, agonies of soul searching for bad deeds... Tedious stuff. I enjoyed the first third, the second third was fine, but I skipped large chunks of the final third without losing any of the story. Because that's the real problem: there is no story. This a fictionalised biography, so there is no story, no start-middle-end, although it tries hard. Maybe this book should be read by those who were so upset when they found out that some of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. It illustrates what happens when the illusion of reality is sacrificed. I'd like to hear if anyone else has read this book and what they made of it. The Amazon reviews are polarised between 'life changing prose' and 'harmless tosh'. I err towards the latter.
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