Books to Read in March: Shantaram

In March read Shantaram, a book that takes you to a faraway country and unveils all its mysteries and secrets.

Books to Read in March: Shantaram

My list of books to read in March is rather scarce. It consists of only one book, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Nevertheless, it’s one of those books that make you think and dream of it, use every free minute to read it. Furthermore, with its impressive almost 1000 pages, Shantaram eliminates any need to look for another book to read in March.

Published in 2003, the book received excellent reviews from The Wall Street Journal, People, The New York Times, and many others. It captivated minds and hearts of millions. Even Oprah Winfrey couldn’t pass on opportunity to meet the author of Shantaram during her visit to Mumbai in 2012. And this probably was one of the best praises for our only book to read in March.

Who is Shantaram

Shantaram is a name that the main character received in one of the villages in India. The name our protagonist was going by throughout the book was Lin or Linbaba. However, neither of these names were his real. The young man was hiding his true identity.

Born in Australia, Lin went through divorce, lost custody of his daughter, and became a heroin addict. Driven by his drug addiction, he committed a series of armed robberies and was sentenced to nineteen years in prison. It was one of the lowest points in Lin’s life. Not willing to endure ongoing tortures in Australian prison, he escapes and travels to Bombay, India.

Life in Bombay

Here his life takes unexpected turn. On the first day of his arrival, Lin meets an Indian guide, Prabaker, who becomes his dear friend. Slowly the newcomer builds friendships with other expats, falls in love, looses all his money, and is forced to live in slums of Bombay. And here surrounded by the poorest people of the city, Lin establishes free medical clinic for slum-dwellers.

For outsiders, this phase of the life of Shantaram seems crazy. But it was a valuable lesson for the main character of our March read. He gets to know the true meaning of happiness, love, and generosity. Somewhere in the middle of the book, Gregory David Roberts states that love was not invented in India, but it certainly was perfected there.

Shantaram wouldn’t be the most entertaining book to read this March without further adversities Lin faced in Bombay. And there were plenty of them.  Imprisonment, betrayal, loss of his best friends, working as a counterfeiter, smuggler, and gunrunner for one of the most powerful mafias in the city…

It took Gregory David Roberts thirteen years to write Shantaram. The book is considered a novel as not all details in it can be verified. Nevertheless, a huge part of Shantaram is based on the life of the author.


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