Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

This novel is an epic work, half fiction and half autobiography.  The author escaped from prison in Australia and hid out in India for several years, then returned to complete his sentence. The descriptions are fabulous – the sights, sounds, colours, feelings of Bombay – from outer appearances to the dark turmoil of the mafia.  I absolutely loved the first half of this book and grieved during the second half as the tone of the novel grew more traumatizing and battle-filled.  It is intriguing to guess about which aspects are fiction and which are not, as they are so finely interwoven. This novel is of love, friendship, attempting to be free when trapped by society, philosophy, life, death and everything in between. This is a moving and fulfilling novel, unlike any other I have read. (submitted by library customer SS)

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