Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

I must confess I chose to buy this nine hundred and so page book solely based on its synopsis and some of the opinions written on the back page of the cover, once I had never heard of its author. Because of its size I decided to keep it at home and not carry it with me on the way to and from work, but soon found myself literally and literarily "hooked" onto it to the point of having refused an evening out to simply keep on reading it. 
Whether it is a novel or an autobiographical story, as it has been referred to by many, is irrelevant because one thing is undeniable - it is brilliantly written  (though I have seen quite a lot of negative stylistic comments lately) and it has an underlying moral purpose that is not "thrown" onto the reader but rather permeates as one gets to know some of the characters.
"Powerful and original ... a remarkable achievement." - Sunday Telegraph
"Vivid and compassionate ... impressive." - Guardian 

From a certain moment on I stopped copying down some of its extracts .... I felt I'd have a lot of copying to do having therefore opted to just write down those phrases or paragraphs that had some sort of connection to either experiences I had had or those I felt to be interesting to ponder on.

"I had learned the hard way that sometimes even with the purest of intentions, we make things worse when we do our best to make things better."
"There's a truth that's deeper than experience. It's beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It's an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception."

"I don't know what frightens me more, the power that crushes us or our endless ability to endure it."
"What do you want (...)? (...) I want everything, she replied with a faint, wry smile".

"Interested in everything, committed to nothing."

"Men reveal what they think when they look away and what they feel when they hesitate. With women, (...) it's the other way around."

"At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won't stop loving them, even after they're dead and gone."

"Personality and personal identity are in some ways like co-ordinates on the street map drawn by our intersecting relationships."

"Some feelings sink so deeply into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again."

"The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men. (...) it is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men - it is what they do or, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil."

"We can compel men not to be bad, but we cannot compel them to be good."

"There is no act of faith more beautiful than the generosity of the very poor."


I believe that Gregory David Robert's book will not leave those who read it indifferent, whether positive or negatively.


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