Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Shantaram has sold more than two million copies worldwide. Supposedly a feature film based on the book is in the works, but you know how the movie biz goes. (Rumor had it at one time that Johnny Depp was likely to star, but that rumor has come and gone.). The novel is narrated by Lin, who escapes from a maximum security prison in Australia and flees to Bombay -- much as the author himself did, although the author has stated that the incidents in the book are largely fictional. According to the author, the title of the book is designed to reflect the theme of the novel, which is the exile experience. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin enters Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries. As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia.
Pat Conroy called the book "A novel of the first order, a work of extraordinary art, a thing of exceptional beauty." [Yowzer!] He added, "If someone asked me what that book was about, I would have to say everything, everything in the world. Gregory David Roberts does for Bombay what Lawrence Durrell did for Alexandria, what Melville did for the South Seas, and what Thoreau did for Walden Pond." The Seattle Times called Shantaram "a true epic. It is a huge, messy, over-the-top, irresistible, shaggy-dog story." Hmmm, I guess that explains the 2+ million copies!
Posted by Bookbroads at 5:31 PM