Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts


By Gregory David Roberts

  • Release Date: 2009-07-01
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4.5
From 502 Ratings
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"A publishing phenomenon" Sunday Times

It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.

Shantaram is a novel based on the life of the author, Gregory David Roberts. In 1978 Roberts was sentenced to nineteen years imprisonment as punishment for a series of robberies of building-society branches, credit unions, and shops he had committed while addicted to heroin. In July 1980 he escaped from Victoria's maximum-security prison in broad daylight, thereby becoming one of Australia's most wanted men for what turned out to be the next ten years. For most of this period he lived in Bombay. He set up a free health clinic in the slums, acted in Bollywood movies, worked for the Bombay mafia as a forger, counterfeiter, and smuggler and, as a gun-runner, resupplied a unit of mujaheddin guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. This is the setting of Shantaram.

Apart from having this highly unusual personal background, Greg Roberts is a very gifted writer. His book is a blend of vivid dialogue, unforgettable characters, amazing adventures, and superb evocations of Indian life. It can be read as a vast, extended thriller, as well as a superbly written meditation on the nature of good and evil. It is a compelling tale of a hunted man who had lost everything - his home, his family, and his soul - and came to find his humanity while living at the wildest edge of experience.

Gregory David Roberts retired from public life in 2014 to devote time to his family and new writing projects.

The Mountain Shadow, sequel to Shantaram, is available now.


"A literary masterpiece ... at once erudite and intimate, reflective and funny ... it has the grit and pace of a thriller" Daily Telegraph

"Powerful and original ... a remarkable achievement" Sunday Telegraph

"Extraordinarily vivid ... a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga" Daily Mail

"At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision." Time Out

Fans of Vikram Seth, John Irving and David Mitchell will love Shantaram.


  • Awesome

    By Gaff Chamber
    One of the greatest books I have ever read. Fantastic from start to finish. A true masterpiece.
  • Fantastic book.

    By CherinJohns
    A fantastic read. I loved every word.
  • Shantaram

    By Vobkob
    I just loved this book! I felt like I was there seeing and smelling all the wonders of Bombay. This story twists and turns to give you a surprise and just when you get used to an idea, it twists off in another direction. Well worth the read!
  • Shantaram

    By Soslack
    One of the best books I have read!
  • Shantaram

    By Obrienand
    Absolutely thrilling read. At the top of the class in best book ever read category. A must read.
  • Shantaram - incredibly self indulgent

    By OzTack
    Essentially a decent story, but the narrator's (author's) self indulgent, self congratulatory style just grates after the first few chapters. Attempts to induce a sense of wonder at the 'insightfulness' of the protagonist and fails. Not recommended.
  • Shantaram

    By brooke'
    Confronting and enlightening. The best book I have read. This book has changed my life.
  • Didn't want to put it down

    By Erin901
    Great book. Wonderful read!
  • Truly awesome read

    By PeteTJ
    This book is definitely my favourite, read it at least four times. Can't wait till the next one.
  • The best book I've ever read

    By morteez
    This author has a great writing style. It's such a fascinating read. I can't wait for the sequel to be released.