Book Review- Gregory David Roberts
The author was studying philosophy at university in Melbourne, Australia when he became a heroin user and addict. He ended up doing several armed robberies and when caught was sentenced to Pentridge Jail He copped close to a life sentence.
He eventually escaped from Pentridge, the jail in Coburg where iconic bushranger Ned Kelly was finally laid to rest, and also where the last man hanged in Australia Ronald Ryan was incarcerated.
The book skims over Robert’s jail time and escape and does not make any reference to the armed robberies he committed. I have served jail time and wrote a book about it entitled “Eating goldfish and other delicacies”.
It is something I am not ashamed of and I took a golden opportunity to turn a huge negative into a positive. Roberts has been quite shy in this regard and missed a golden opportunity to make a lack lustre story a bit exciting
Robert’s story suffers from his philosophy and the fact that he is an intellectual. He quite often rattles off his philosophical diatribes and at times they sound absolutely ridiculous. He uses difficult and hard to read language as if he has swallowed a dictionary. It is certainly not written for the common man In fact you will need to keep a dictionary handy if you want to read this book properly.
I got three quarters of the way through the book and found a lot of it hard to believe. One minute he is robbing people and the next he is running a free clinic for the poor in the slums of Bombay. I eventually looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that most of the book was not true so I took it back to the library un read. I was disappointed I had wasted my time and I wrote to the author telling him so. I also called him a lying junkie-
The author wrote back and this is his response:-
Thanks for your comments. I receive thousands of emails, and although I read every one of them, I can't possibly reply to them all. But with yours, I just wanted to respond to a few issues you raised. Besides, I'm recovering from two operations in 8 weeks: a hip replacement 10 weeks ago, and a knee replacement 2 weeks ago (too much boxing, rugby, jumping out of airplanes, and falling off motorcycles), so I actually have some free time at the moment, which isn't often the case.
First, the book is a novel. It says so on the cover. If it didn't say "a novel" on the cover of your copy, then that's a mistake of the publisher. The book is translated into 42 languages across the world, and it states that it's a novel on all of the covers.
I've never said, in any interview or written essay, that the book is an autobiography. It isn't: it's a novel. I'm a novelist - that's what I do. I wrote my first story for money when I was 16 years old, and I've always written throughout all of my life. When I was in Germany, while I was on the run, I was published under a false name. When I was in India, I was published under a different false name. I was always a writer, long before my life took its drastic turn in the wrong direction. I'm not a criminal who wrote a book: I'm a writer who became a criminal.
Nevertheless, the experiences in the book are all real experiences taken from my life. The slum, the village, the Bombay mafia, the smuggling runs to India and Sri Lanka (in the next book), the escape from prison as described in the book - they're all real experiences. The created part of the novel is the characters and the dialogue. I created all of the characters, and all of the dialogue. But the experiences are all real. They're so real, in fact, that the United States Department of Homeland Security won't allow me to have a visa to enter the USA - not because I was in the Bombay mafia or escaped from prison (they're fine with that), but because I was in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka during the wars there. That's a matter of record, and it's the sole reason why I can't enter the USA.
About the crimes and prison years: I'll write about them in the third novel.
When I decided to use the real experiences of my own life for a series of novels, I knew I had enough experiences for three books. I planned the three novels as a trilogy, with Shantaram as the middle novel, and the early years of crime, punishment and escape as the first novel, and the war in Sri Lanka and the last years in Bombay as the third novel.
I started with the second book, Shantaram, because I thought it was the one that would establish the series for me. I've been writing the third book in the trilogy (the sequel to Shantaram) for the last 5 years. It's almost finished, and I have to hand it in to my publishers by the end of February at the latest. In a few more years, I'll go back and write the first book - the one dealing with the prison years and so on.
When you say that I think of myself as an intellectual, that's quite true. I was an honours student in philosophy and literature at Melbourne University when my life fell apart and I got into drugs. Throughout my life - even in the Bombay mafia years and in the seven and a half extra years I had to serve when I was finally recaptured - I always continued to study philosophy. Now, I work as a consultant for international companies that hire me as a philosopher. One of my major projects in the last few years was working with Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu on their Elders concept. If you look up The Elders (Nelson Mandela and others), all of the material written on the website was written by me. I am a philosopher, and I don't apologize for it.
By the way, that doesn't mean that my philosophy is "right" or the only way to look at things. I'd never try to shove my philosophy down anyone's throat. I know that a lot of people don't agree with my philosophy (what they know of it from my book and website), and I have arguments and discussions with other philosophers who disagree with me, when I'm invited to speak at philosophy conferences.
I'm not trying to make anyone agree with me, or to convince them that I'm "right". I'm just passing on the things that seem to be wise and helpful, after many years of study and many experiences that are at the edge of what most people can know.
As for not writing for the common man, as you say, the thing is that I write with my own style. I developed the style over 30 years of writing, and it's simply the way that I write. I don't write for any target audience: either the common man or the uncommon man. I just write in the way that comes from my instinct and the voice speaking in my head as I write.
In fact, I get a lot of emails from people who could be called "common men", even though I don't use the phrase myself. I get emails from soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, from cops, bikers, serving and ex-prisoners, union members and other working people from all around the world. I'm happy to say that none of them have ever told me that my book was too hard to read. I know that there are lots of people who don't like my style of writing, but the bottom line is that it's my own style, and it's authentic to me.
With regard to the Wiki page, please don't ever take anything on Wikipedia at face value. I didn't write that page, and I've tried to get it changed or deleted many times. In one version of the Wikipedia page, the person who wrote it said that my father was deported back to Canada from Australia. That's just ridiculous: my father, God rest his soul, died of a heart attack, in his bed, in the house in Melbourne where he'd lived most of his life. I never said any of the things that the Wikipedia page alleges that I said. What I've said, a thousand times, across the whole world, is that the experiences in my novel, Shantaram, are all real experiences, taken from my life, but that the characters and dialogue are created - as they are in any novel.
With regard to ripping people off, I just don't think it's fair or right. With the money I've received from the novel, I retired my Mum and Step-Dad from work, rebuilt their house, paid the mortgage on my daughter's house, and paid all the bills for everyone else in the family. When that was done, I went back to Bombay, and started a charity there. I now support 39 men who work in three bicycle and motorcycle repair shops that I set up, and their 200 wives, children, and parents. I pay for that with my own money, and I never accept donations from anyone to help me with it, even though a lot of business people offer me money to help with the work. I have a few motorcycles ( I'm a bike nut) but I don't own a house, and I don't have reserves of cash in the bank. What I earn goes to my family, and to support my charity in Bombay.
The last thing I'd like to say in response to your email, is that I very strongly disagree with the points your making about junkies.
First, I've known a lot of junkies who could be trusted. I've known junkies who went through turkey and took beatings from cops while they were doing the turkey, just because they wouldn't give up information about someone else. I've also known junkies you can't trust - but I've known plenty of straight people you can't trust, as well.
As for me, I hit the Turning Point 20 years ago, and I gave up everything on the same day. I haven't had a drink of alcohol, or a cigarette, or any kind of drug, for the last 20 years. I never think about drugs, and I don't miss them. I'm not a junkie. I know that a lot of people have been helped by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and I think that's a good thing, for the people who are being helped. But I don't agree with the AA and NA philosophy that "once a junkie, always a junkie" or "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic". In my experience, that simply isn't true.
People continue to lapse and take drugs or drink booze, even after they turkey or are put in prison, until they reach the Turning Point. And nothing in the world can stop them before they reach that point in their lives. But sooner or later, if they live long enough, almost all of the junkies in the world reach the Turning Point, and give up drugs once and for all. This is just a biological and psychological fact. There are very few 50-year old junkies, because by the time they get into their 50s, the vast majority of junkies are dead, or they reach the Turning Point and they quit.
Well, it's been a long response to your email, Trevor, and if you've read this far, I thank you for your patience. I'm not trying to convince you that I'm a good guy, or even a good writer. I know all the bad things I've done in my life, and I remember them every time I look in the mirror. That's one of the things that keeps me straight, and keeps me doing my charity work: not because I'm a good guy, but because I'm still a damn long way from being a good guy. And as for the writing, well, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but at the very least it's my own style and my own way, not copied from anyone else.
If the new book comes out next year, in about August, I hope, and you take a look at it, maybe you'll like it a bit more than Shantaram. The sequel doesn't have to do all the explaining that Shantaram did, and it's much more active than passive. It's still based on my own real experiences, but the characters (old and new) are all created - just like in Shantaram - and the dialogue and philosophy (yes, there's some more in the new novel, sorry) are all mine.
As you wrote at the end of your email, I send you warm regards, Trevor, and my wishes for your happiness and health,
Find out for yourself what all the fuss is about-
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Jack on July 22, 2018:
You sir, are a douche. Please reply my comment with another insult, that'll probably prove my point. I guess that behavior of yours is a mixture of envy and lack of talent, and that's why you're stuck writting bad reviews without logic
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on December 05, 2016:
Excellent Sam, arrogant is exactly how I was trying to come across. Lucky there is no law against being arrogant, because if there was, I am certain you would set the penalty at hanging me. Merry Christmas and let's hope that one day you contribute something to society rather than just criticize the doers of this world.
Sam on December 05, 2016:
Your arrogance is outstanding! Would you like a dictionary to understand the insult?
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on September 21, 2016:
Kiriana, ho hum- boring, who cares what you say, your a nobody, unlike me!
Anthony on July 25, 2016:
Actually hang on[wildchild] , just with reference to your last comment. Does this mean that you you did read 'The book' (completely) and did enjoy it? I'm Just interested in your actual honest opinion. I can definitely recommend it if you haven't. :)
Anthony on July 25, 2016:
I think you should read Shantaram my friend.
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on March 03, 2016:
The clue here folks is that I get paid for the advertising on these pages, I write whatever I need to, to get the readers onto this page so I can make big money. You all fall in like Lemmings to the slaughter and read what I write and even believe that I am serious. I laugh to myself that you are all so naive, I laugh all the way to the bank, the figures of who reads my stuff are enormous, so are the pay cheques, every time you make a comment, more people read the post and more money flows into my bank account, ha ha ha! People get angry and swear and criticize me, who cares!!! Not me, I am loving it!
Amber on March 01, 2016:
I'm so confused! Why are you so angry wildchild? Why are you trying to convince everyone of how accomplished you are? So you read a book, or didn't finish reading a book, because you didn't like it, that's OK. Other people do like it (like myself, although I do see some flaws in it), why does that make you angry?
I too am honostly confused about how you can find this a difficult book to read. It's long, yes, but the language used is very comprehensible. In fact, I found it to be one of the most accessible books I've read in English, and english is not even my native language.
The philosophical themes are also very comprehensible. I've read ' Sophie's world' multiple times ; in dutch, German and English, and I found many of the themes explained in that book much more difficult to wrap my mind around than the philosophical themes in shantaram. And Sophie's world is a children's book! How shantaram can be too difficult for a highly educated adult who reads it in their native tongue is really beyond me!
carolet on January 04, 2016:
I have just finished Mountain Shadows and was thoroughly engrossed. Shantaram was one of my favorite books. The writing, the experiences, the different characters, and,yes, the philosophy. Mountain Shadow continues this journey. I recommend it highly. both books stay with me in so many ways,
Tedd Shore on December 29, 2015:
Grammar is important ... "your" and "you're" ... elementary stuff guys, aargh :)
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on December 24, 2015:
My problem erik S is, I am jealous of your sophisticated tome, I certainly wish I such a grasp on the English language as you, and yes life as an antique dealer, which is one of my businesses, totally boring, my second business selling rare and collectible vinyl records all around the world, well, it would make you fall asleep. Touring Australia, playing guitar and singing in the pubs and clubs, can't think of anything less mindless. Junkies, well suboxone I know absolutely nothing about them, because I only spent a tiny three years,living as a prisoner in Casuarina Maximum Security Prison (Perth, West Australia) surrounded by wonderful, caring, loving, giving JUNKIES, taking time out from their usual activity of helping old ladies across the road and volunteering for Meals on Wheels. As for being a Troll, what are you talking about you idiot- I wrote the story, your the one who has had your comment approved by me Einstein, whose the Troll? . . . and suboxone, let's make this clear, I am not your friend!
suboxone on December 24, 2015:
Drug addicts are not compulsive liars. They wanna get high. Once u know this you can trust them in all other areas. Its regular people that are liars....putting up a shield trying to protect themselves, playing games and so on. I could explain it all to you if I had the time. All I can say is that u get more truth from an addict then u ever would from a regular person. Trust me I know and if u dont know....then I guess u wrotd this piece of crap from ur heart not having any real experience from life. Ur just a troll my friend.
erikS on December 24, 2015:
Wildchild1962 whats ur fucking problem? Anyone can read shantaram. Maybe ur just too illiterate to understand the written word. Not once did I use a dictionary reading this book. You know nothing about "junkies" either. I dont think u know much about life anyway. I think ur just jealous of gregory bcuz he lived an interesting life while urs is boring
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on December 09, 2015:
Rabble Rousing? Anger and Jealousy, so your assuming that Roberts is a far more successful author? In fact a far more successful person, so you say.
What amongst good men, is the measure of success? Is it the amount of fans you have, or the amount of people that read your work, or is it something else?
Roberts writes novels and is a philosopher, university educated. I too am university educated, both in Graphic Design and Journalism.
Writing, well Roberts is a bit one dimensional when it comes to writing. I in fact wrote the well known play "Sight Unseen" which was later co-directed by myself and world renowned artist, film maker and producer Tim Burns, who spent most of his time in New York and now lives back near his home town in York, Western Australia.
The play, in the form of a short film explores the history of racism against native local Aborigines in York, Western Australia from the time of first settlement until the present day. It won a $13,500 grant from The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.
My play has shown at art galleries all over the world, including China and the USA and most of Australia, I was personally thrilled when Tim Burns (Robert Juniper trained) held a retrospective of his work at the Geraldton Art Gallery recently and of course my "installation" of Sight Unseen" (featuring Australia's first Aboriginal Dental Technician and Artist, Merle Narkle-Goodwin), was showing. I call it an installation because it was filmed on four cameras simultaneously and is shown on four TV sets, set in a wall, so it is highly portable and does not need actors.
I also write travel reviews and publish them on Hubpages as you can see. I do this to help people because it pleases me, and that is because my late father taught me to have love and compassion for my fellow man.
I am a prolific reader and so I use my writing skills to write and publish book reviews. I do that because I enjoy it and it also helps my fellow man to get an idea of what is good to read and what is not, but that's only from my perspective.
I also have a blog which features many of my adventures in life, and a page especially dedicated to those in my home town who lost their lives over the years. Over 350,000 people have read my work. I too have a jail book, "Eating Goldfish and Other Delicacies, My Time in a Maximum Security Prison"
In my book reviews, I make it a point to say exactly what I think, I am opinionated but my opinions are based on living a life time of hardship, much like Roberts. The school of hard knocks, and like Roberts, I too dragged myself up from a life almost destined to fail, to become well educated and successful in every field I have decided to become involved in.
What do I do for employment, am I a Philosopher? No, I spent my entire life studying Antiques just as a hobby. I then started buying and selling antiques, while at the same time, visiting every museum and antique shop I could find.
I run two businesses. I have an internet shop that buys and sells rare records from all over the world and I buy and sell Art, Collectibles and Antiques. I also work a full-time job as a salesman for a national company. I run my businesses at night from 5 p.m. until around 3 am in the morning, and weekends. I work during the day, 8-4.30.
I have three children, Twin boys aged 23 and another son aged 19. I spend my time, making a future for them. I am a good father.
I write songs too. But not for other people, I sing and play the music on my guitar myself. I have traveled Australia singing and playing in pubs and clubs for years.
I am a successful singer, guitarist and songwriter. Go and search Trevor Dunen, "I was only 19". on Youtube. and you will find me singing, at The Royal Perth Yacht Club, for the survivors of D Company, 6th Battalion, RAR, that on 18th August, 1966, fought all night in pouring rain against an estimated 2000 Viet Cong, losing 19 men in the process.
That was the proudest moment in my life. That is something that I count as a measure of my success. I made those men happy, I made them think back and remember a sad time when they gave so much for their country and I gave something to them for their ultimate sacrifice.
In a few of my book reviews I have savaged the Authors because they have asked for it. If you read the revue about Peter Docker's book "Someone Else's Country" you will see what I mean. I have the guts to tell it like it is publicly, my view is that most of Robert's readers are just trying to be "Trendy", there are plenty of people who hate the book, but they don't bother writing about it, reading the book was bad enough.
I just didn't like Roberts book. The big question I keep asking myself and everybody seems to miss is this. Roberts escaped from Jail and was on the run for years. He is and was a Junkie, a heroin dealer and user, they would kill their own mother for a fix.
He has admitted the book is not true, a total work of fiction. But in the book it states that his story is a record of his time on the run from Pentridge Prison.
So we know Roberts is lying to everybody, or I suppose you would like to call it a work of Fiction?
What was an armed robber, escapee, junkie, heroin dealer doing all those years if the book is not true? Helping out as a volunteer at the local Salvo's store?
I think not, you are a motor mechanic, trying to sound as if you you're a man of the world, you accuse me of being arrogant, but you my friend are naive and a fool and I don't suffer fools. Like most of Roberts fans, you follow his every word like lost sheep. I tell it like it is. Never trust a Junkie. When Roberts talks what is the truth and what is lies?
How did I start out in life? At age six my father was killed in a road accident, my mother was committed to a mental hospital shortly after and never really recovered. I had 2 brothers. One a psychopath who later became a leading underworld criminal figure in Melbourne and still is.
We were as poor as church mice and I watched my mother get bashed by her drunken boyfriend, on a Friday or Saturday night. She would leave me at home around age ten, while she went down the pub all night. I cut my entire criminal family off. I have nothing to do with them
I grew up hard on the streets of Melbourne, I had no family support. In later years, after I went to jail for violence I was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder, but I live with it, just another hurdle to jump. I wrote a book about it, but not about some fantasy trio to India, I wrote about jail and the criminals in it.
Apart from my many pastimes and achievements, I also have motor mechanics calling me lazy and ignorant
Hardly, go and Google my name, I have explained what I do above. I am hardly sitting idle.
Ignorant? You have the right to say what you want, I do. That's what my friends in D Company fought for, your right to free speech. Maybe I am ignorant, who cares?
Certainly, I have the runs on the board to meet the criteria, required by the masses to be classed as a success. I don't do all these things just to please others, it pleases me, and I don't care what other people think either way.
But you are not like the masses, your a sophisticated, novel reading mechanic, you class Roberts as a success because people read his book. You have read his book. But you know what? you have read my review, you have also taken the time to write me a letter and criticize me. You will google my name later, and you will also have a look at my stuff on Youtube.
By doing this, you're meeting your own criteria of the definition of what constitutes success. Thanks for reading my stuff, just like hundreds of thousands of others. The fact that you have participated is pure Art, and I love art, art smells of success.
I might sound like an immodest braggart, but you did call me lazy and ignorant.
By the way, have you got a spare spot next Wednesday afternoon for a full service of my Hyundai?
Noah on December 08, 2015:
There is likely little point in issuing a response here. This posting fairly reeks of rabble rousing and perhaps a bit of anger or jealousy toward a far more successful author. As such, I don't expect criticism to be well received. However, I felt moved to address one thing in particular. I am an auto mechanic, I feel it safe to say that I am the common man, and I don't feel that Shantaram was written above my head. In 933 pages, I reached for a dictionary once and was pleased to do so. If a broad grasp of language is not to be used in a work of literature, then where do you feel it is appropriate? In an age of abbreviations (lol) and ever more simplified (read 'brainless') forms of entertainment, I applaud Roberts for using a word I didn't know. So yes, this book is certainly written for the common man, just not the lazy or ignorant one.
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on November 15, 2015:
Thanks for the attempt at a witty comment Walter, while we are talking about real names, what's your full name, I see your way too scared to reveal it, my real name is widely available on this site, it's Trevor Dunen. The funny thing about your comment is you have taken the time to read my review, then you have taken the time to comment. Just like you Walter, over 250,000 people have either read my book, read my blog or looked at my youtube posts, fans write to me and ring me every single day, I have quite a following on the net. You should really have a look at one of my brilliant performances at- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnBepi4t6zA
The other thing you should know is that I too have done time in Pentridge, I actually come from Melbourne where Gregory Roberts comes from, it's my home town. Like all junkies and hardened criminals, Robert's is well known in Melbourne for being a compulsive liar, still, you keep worshipping the junkie lying, criminal. Just ignore what I say.
Airlie Conway on September 20, 2015:
4 million people disagree with you and who uses the word 'junkie' with such hatred and venom? :( not nice at all
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 23, 2015:
It was a good idea for you to write so frankly to the novelist, because it helped him to explain himself. It's true, every novelist uses a part of his own life experiences and people he knows to weave a story. So, I guess he has a point. Now, whether it's a good book or not, I don't know, not having read it.
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on June 05, 2015:
the copy of his book that I had, did not have printed on it it was a novel, I am not stupid in fact the inside frontispiece with a short description about the book claimed it was a biography. I stand by my claims, this book was a 2 out of ten for me, keep in mind that, in the book, this bloke was a heroin junkie (they are often compulsive liars) robbed a bank and then escaped from Pentridge Prison, this part is true and the rest is bulldust, where was he all those years- robbing more banks?
Kalr on June 04, 2015:
You only like nin fiction then read fiction and complain about not liking it because it isn't true?
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on April 21, 2015:
Eatin Goldfish has been a huge success, but I did not write it for success. I wrote it so my children and other people could see what jail is like. I was in jail for traffic offences, technically if you have been booked for speeding then you are a criminal. I am far from bitter. My review is only my opinion but then again I have very high standards and I have a golden rule, never ever trust what a junkie says, bestseller or no bestseller
mr on April 20, 2015:
Was eating goldfish not a success ? I see only 2 links on a google search. Possibly the bitterness is coming from this source. Maybe it is a good book however I am struggling to even find a review.
I really enjoyed the book and not once thought it was too hard to read. That was quite the attack that you sent. Very aggressive.
It seems that people don't share you opinion.
Why should we trust you ? You also served time. So are you not a criminal ?
Beryl ashby on April 19, 2015:
I have read shantaram 3 times I got the impression that it was based on the count of monte christro
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on February 20, 2015:
War and Peace is rubbish!
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on February 20, 2015:
To Ann Hominous, you are right on the money and you are very perceptive. This bloke cannot be believed or trusted. One thing I am wondering is how he travels so freely all over the world and enters countries like the US and England yet he has a conviction for armed robbery?
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on February 20, 2015:
I am university educated, I am a qualified journalist and I have read over a thousand books. 7th grade education to read this book eh? I seriously doubt it, that is your opinion and I strongly disagree with you. I have a strict rule, if anybody ever tells me they escaped from Pentridge Prison I tend not to place much value on anything they write or say!
Sam on February 18, 2015:
Apparently you have very little education if you think this is a hard read and its surprising you have a web page talking about books and think its a down side to one that one may require a little work to read it. Which i don't agree with, by the way, it would take little more then a 7th grade education to read this book and enjoy it. Shall we not read books now that require thought and effort? did anyone ever read War and Peace? now there's a book that you (and i mean you personally)could complain about. I'd also like to point out that war and peace is a fictional story based in historical fact. like THOUSANDS of other books. back of my hand to you.
Ann hominous on January 12, 2015:
Like the book, hate the author.
I believe the work to be far more fictional than he admits, I've seen interviews with him and got even more adamant in my opinion of him as an exploitative liar. Another white guy winning bread by selling poverty.
Funnily enough the people I heard praising the book were all white foreigners.
Anonymous on July 06, 2014:
Don't you know what a novel is?
surfer Sam on January 20, 2014:
Who is David by the way ? . I see a reference to him twice above. But the reply i read was signed off Greg Roberts. Is their some familiarity to Greg Roberts that i missed . I have read Shantaram by the way and it immediately calls out to the reader it is a novel. If you honestly believe that some of those conversations were actually factual then the Author has done an amazing job in presenting a novel with incredible accuracy of an Autobiography........
wildchild1962 (author) from Geraldton on November 11, 2013:
I stand by what I say and have the guts to say that I did not like the book, I only like non fiction and this whole book is but a fantasy
Debra L on November 10, 2013:
The year I read Shantaram, it was my favourite book. I recommended it to everyone I knew. I liked it so much that I would approach strangers browsing in airport book stores and recommend the book. At least 30 of them bought it. I have just finished the audio book and can fully remember why I was so passionate about the book. It is a great read and opened up my interest in India with all of its attendant glories and challenges.
Frank on October 15, 2013:
Dear god your criticisms of his writing are an insult to the internet you wasted writing them.
Brock on September 19, 2013:
This was the best book I've ever read, and it was written in such an intricate beautiful way, but somehow managed to be so easy to read. So effortless. Yeah, I looked up a bunch of words. Any decent book should help you learn new words. But the writing was very conversational. I never had to re-read sentences (although I chose to re-read many).
Awesome reply from David. Thanks for posting!
Dean on July 17, 2013:
I loved Shantaram ! And yeah there were some words I needed to look up but so what ? It just increased my vocabulary. Shantaram touched my heart on a lot of levels. I cried through a lot of it. I'm recommending it to most of the people I know who enjoy reading ! Looking forward to the sequel .....
Rachel on April 26, 2013:
It is a beautiful book, filled with with wonderful insights and philpsophy. Fabricated or not does not matter because it is a great read, one of the best I have come through.
James on February 10, 2013:
What an incredible reply from David. I am a 22 year old australian man and really can't believe you found the book hard to read. At no point did I think he swallowed a dictionary. Also, I really don't think it matters if it is real or not. Just because you took a golden opportunity to write about your jail time doesn't mean everyone else should. The fact that you called him out as a 'lying junkie' really shows the type of person you are. Junkie is such a loose term and really has nothing to do with who you are.
Lisa on February 09, 2012:
When was this written? I am waiting to hear about the next book!