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Monday, November 10, 2008

Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

This was fascinating book, but I think it's the book hat's taken me the longest to finish of any book I've ever read. It took me over 6 months. Of course, if you look at teh last six months of this blog, you'll see that I have read just a couple of other things as well, but still it's quite unlike me to spend so long on one book. And then again, I don't often read 936 page books...

One reason I don't spend forever reading books generally is that I tend to forget hat was happening if I leave a book and then come back after a while. This did not, interestingly, happen at all with Shantaram. No matter how long I stepped away from it, it was always clear when I came back. I thought that was interesting.

This book had action, suspense, character development, philosophy, crime, romance, pretty much everything. I guess when you write such a long book you have room to write about everything! but the secret is in being able do it well and not have your reader feel like it was just dragging on and on. I never really felt like that with this book, which was great.

The story is about a man who got into drugs, was thrown in prison, escaped and went off to India where he ended up working for a mafia type group there. In real life, the author himself ended up in prison and escaped, went to India and opened a health clinic (also a part of the story). It was fascinating to wonder how much of this story was true, and how much completely made up. I felt like the main character's descriptions of his feelings as an escapee on the run must have been more accurate than anyone else would have been able to write them, along with some other things, like treatment of people in prisons (super difficult to read about sometimes).

I really, really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to adults with staying power or a bunch of spare time on their hands.

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