I'm the kind of guy who likes walking into a bookshop and browsing, choosing the book I like after reading around a bit, as a pose to buying from Amazon upon other people's requests. Shantaram was just one of those books that I picked up, and I'm amazed nobody has opened a thread for this book yet. I personally greatly enjoyed the book, I think Roberts has written it very well and it offers a very different perspective on life in India; Roberts does a very convincing job of glorifying India and the book intrigues the reader into wanting to visit. As Roberts says on the first page, 'it begins, this story, like everything else- with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck.' Although it would be an understatement to say Roberts is overzealous in his description and use of metaphors the book still has plenty of grit and pace, and with a desperate heartfelt romance thrown in it's hard to dislike his point of view. Perhaps the cynic would argue that Roberts outlook on life in India is over-optimistic and is written in contrast to the harsh prison conditions he endured during and before the book was written, I still believe that to criticize this book based upon a man's enthusiasm for a country is hardly a just argument. However, it is hard to ignore the fact that Roberts is a convicted criminal, and although we could argue that his crimes were influenced by drugs that does not change the fact that he performed several armed robberies. He has then proceeded to make money from selling what is essentially an account of his crimes in India, which many could argue is very wrong; in the UK they even have laws preventing convicted criminals making money through books or films entailing their crimes. Do you think this is wrong? Nevertheless I thought I could quote the blurb of the book in order to summarize what Roberts has written about, as he seems far more adept at putting it into words than me, I choose to do this because the entire book is in excess of nine-hundred pages- definitely not for a light reader- and to describe all events involved would take too long. 'In the early 80's, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street solider. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spent time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. . . Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three time after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It's a profound tribute to his willpower. . . At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive version.'- Time Out. Has anyone else read the book, what did you think?