For the past one week I have been staying up nights and trying to spend every waking minute that I get reading Shataram by Gregory David Roberts. I still haven’t finished reading the book. It’s a huge book about 1000 pages and I still have 100 odd pages left to finish but I just cant help writing a review. What a book man what a book. I am usually lousy when it comes to reviewing books but there are very few books which I have really really felt like reviewing and this is one of them. It’s been a long time since I read a book which has been so stimulating moving and un-putdown able. Its non-fiction and I generally hate non-fiction and self help kind of books. This book is a kind of a self help book too I would say.
The real life story of a man who has been through sooooooooooo much in life and the way he has written it is BLOODY brilliant. I have just completely fallen in love with the way he has written. He describes India and Bombay so beautifully that it especially appeals to a person like me who has this “crazy almost bordering toward madness” kind of love for India. I cant really explain what I love about this country but I just love it with every fibre of my being and to hear my sentiments being voiced by a foreigner, to hear my country being praised by him felt so good.
And another astounding thing is that Gregory david Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after the prison guards destroyed the first two versions. Each version was around 600 pages. And to have continued writing after having his first two version destroyed tells you about the kind of amazing grit, willpower and determination this man possesses. It is very very hard to believe that it has been written by a prisoner, an armed robber and a hopeless heroin addict. There is a part in the book, around 50 pages, where he talks about his stint in an Indian prison. It just completely moved me to tears and threw light on the kind of circumstances under which prisoners in India live and the way they are treated. (But according to Roberts such is the case in every prison in this world.).
Shantaram is a riveting read which is at once moving, touching, humorous, dark, thrilling, full of suspense, compassionate, sensational and erudite. I am running out of adjectives to describe this book. Please do read it. Don’t let the size of the book intimidate you. Trust me it is worth the read.
Next on my list is Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Snow’ and ‘My Name is Red’. I generally do not read books written by Nobel prize winning authors because most of what they write is a bouncer for me but I am going to try. So any reviews on these two books are most welcome!! :)