• by Gregory David Roberts
  • Narrated by Humphrey Bower
  • 42 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a spectacular 43 hours of storytelling, Gregory David Roberts and narrator Humphrey Bower take listeners on a rollercoaster of a journey through the streets and slums of India. Vivid and lyrical, some have gone so far as to call Shantaram a literary masterpiece.
A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.
In the early 80s, 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 soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend 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 times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It's a profound tribute to his willpower...


What the Critics Say

"A publishing phenomenon." (Sunday Times)
"Extraordinary vivid...a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga." (Daily Mail)
"Powerful and original...a remarkable achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Vivid and compassionate...impressive." (Guardian)
"At once a high-kicking, eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision." (Time Out)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent reading of a great story

What made the experience of listening to Shantaram the most enjoyable?

I'd read the book before and really enjoyed it. I saw it was available on Audible and thought that, if well done, it would be a fantastic audiobook to get completely immersed in. I wasn't disappointed. The book is not without its flaws, but it's a compelling and epic story that I find myself totally hooked by.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hard to pick a favourite as there are so many compelling characters. I think the audio version of the book really brought out some of the more minor characters, for example Didier.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

I was impressed by his ability to voice all the characters. There are so many and I thought he did a really good job giving each an individual voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So many - and impossible to say without giving major spoilers!

Any additional comments?

A great book, turned into a brilliant audiobook.

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Enjoy the Ride!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

To a friend used to the kinds of beautifully-crafted prose that might be expected in a typical work of literary fiction, and for whom the quality of the writing itself is important I would suggest they think twice before starting this book. As other reviewers have said, it contains a good deal of pompous, purple, cliche-ridden and dubious writing and is the worse for it. However to a friend who loves an adventure novel, a travel book and a ripping yarn, I would heartily recommend. The cast of characters is cliched, many of them horribly stereotyped, thin and poorly drawn, the first-person narrator comes across as a narcissistic twit and I'm astonished these problems with the book were not better addressed at editing stage. By contrast the characters of Bombay, of Pakistan and Afghanistan, of the bars and chai shops and streets and slums are deliciously, sensuously described and are the real stars of this huge great show of a novel. What Gregory David Roberts lacks in creating believable, sympathetic characters he more than makes up for in writing a romping good story, full of exquisite descriptive detail, brilliant highs and desperate, heart rending lows. Humphrey Bower's handling of the many voices, accents and dialects in this novel, and the range of feeling he communicates is a joy to listen to. I was close to giving up on the book after the first few chapters because the writing was annoying me so much. How grateful I am to have persevered; to have stopped judging the book by its faults, and to simply enjoy it for the rollicking good ride that it is.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I hadn't come across Humphrey Bower before but will now be seeking out more of his work: the reading was first-class.

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- HappyLuckyAlix "Happylucky"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-06-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK