Last night, as I finished reading Shantaram, my eyes welled up with tears, as they had many times across the nearly 1000 pages I had just read. I was crying because I had lost one of the wisest companions I have ever come to know. This book is incredible.
Shantaram is based on the life of its author – Gregory David Roberts – who convicted to a 19 year prison sentence in Australia, escaped over the front wall of the prison and went on to become an international fugitive.
The book touches on this only lightly. The real focus is the decade that Roberts spent in Bombay – falling in love, opening a clinic in the slums, working for an arm of the Bombay mafia and fighting with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. The story is exciting and never once slows. But the true brilliance of the book is in the long philosophical discussions. The author has with himself and the other characters of the novel, particularly Abdul Kader Khan, the don of the arm of the Bombay mafia he joins.
I’ll go no further. Read it.