Saturday, January 13, 2007

Shantaram: First Chunkster/TBR Challenge Book

Shantaram is the first book this year, counting as both a TBR Challenge book and a Chunkster Challenge book. At 933 pages, it's a whopper for sure. I've already given quite a bit of review of the book and by now you know I loved it. See my other reviews HERE and HERE and HERE.

This book is about a criminal and crime. It's about the gritty underside of Bombay, about people losing their souls to money and sin, about how people justify living like that and still believe they will have mercy, about one man's quest for freedom and what it means to him. It's violent. I don't call it gratuitous violence, because it's really necessary to tell the story. It's not a pretty world, and sometimes the circumstances and stories of the main characters life are almost overwhelming. Really, it reminded me a bit of Queen of the South -- although I didn't really like Queen, the storyline and violent content were similar, and the way the book rests on your soul for long after seems to be similar. It'll be a long time before I shake off this book. Brilliantly written, if you are the type to turn down a page when you find a beautiful passage, you'll have a trainload of dogeared pages when you are done.

Oh, and if you love Indian food, as I do, have the closest take out number handy. You'll drool like a fool all the way through the book!


Sherry said...

I added a link to your review to my Saturday Review of Books at You're invited to come by any Saturday and add a link your self for any books you've reviewed that week.

Literary Feline said...

I've enjoyed reading all of your posts regarding this book. It's definitely on my wish list! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Shantaram. To be honest, I had never heard of it until you first mentioned it. Thanks again!

Kailana said...

I looked at this book at the bookstore yesterday, but I have so many "chunksters", I am trying to not buy longer books at the moment. It sounds really good!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Lisa!

Congrats on finishing your first Chunkster!

I'm so glad you enjoyed "Shantaram", I have it scheduled for March but I am not sure I can wait so long, I am literally chomping at the bit to get started on it - I just felt I need to to wrap up the "Classics Challenge" first.

I have spoken with a couple of friends (non bloggers) who have read "Shantaram" and they all assure me that this book is more than worth a read. I'm glad you felt the same.

A blogger friend in India has actually met Gregory Roberts and bumps into him occasionally when he (Roberts) visits India - I am hoping he'll be able to have Roberts answer some questions when I'm done reading the book...won't that be fun? I hope he can pull it off.

jay are said...

wow. I definitely want to read it. And how cool to know somebody, lotus, who knows the author! Very neat...anyway, this sounds like I book I'll need to buy. I don't buy very many books (go the library route) because it's not worth it unless the book's unusual in some way, the sort of book I'll either want to read again, underline and write in or just have in my possession...
Sounds like this one fits the bill. Thanks for the reviews.

Bookfool said...

Congratulations on finishing your first chunkster!

Sounds like a terrific book. I'm avoiding buying any more fat books, like Kailana, but I'll have to put this one on my list for the future (when I've knocked my own chunkster pile down a bit).