Shantaram by Gregory David RobertsHello all. I recently read an awesome book that I would like to tell you about in today’s post. A guy in here recommended it, and loaned it to me. It is long, close to 1000 pages, and it is intense. It is written based on truth, about the author’s own life, and it is an amazing story. Considering that I don’t really have any news of interest to tell you about, let alone an amazing story about myself, I think it will make an excellent subject to change things up a little.

The story is about a heroin addict who ends up in prison due to his addiction.  Maybe this is part of the reason I can relate to the story, but this guys story is a lot more hard core and intense than my own. The book is named Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

(Editors note: Here is a link to a website by the author, about himself and the book. www.shantaram.com Also, here is a link to the book on amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Shantaram-Novel-Gregory-David-Roberts/dp/0312330537/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322934163&sr=8-1)

Lin, the main character, is convicted of armed robbery that he commits to feed his heroin habit. He got on heroin after his marriage broke up and he lost his wife and daughter. He can’t tolerate the harsh treatment at the prison he is in, a high security prison in Australia. He manages to escape, and makes his way to India. But he is now a wanted man. He knows when he escapes that he is leaving everyone and everything behind, and that he will never see his daughter or mother again.

In India, he chooses to make the best of the situation and he gets to know the local people, learns to speak a couple languages, and has many experiences. For some time, he lives in a slum and sets up a medical clinic. He had some basic first aid training but that is it, but he is able to get black market drugs and medications and help the people a lot. He spends several months in a tiny, remote village with a friend from the slum, and he learns so much there, and enjoys the simple life. But, he goes back to Bombay and he ends up getting the wrong people mad at him, and he is arrested and spends several months in a prison in Bombay in the worse of conditions, where he almost dies from the abuse and beatings. As all this is going on, he also meets and gets involved with one of the big mafia bosses in India. He eventually becomes very close to the mafia boss and considers him a father and  a mentor. The mafia boss is very intelligent and spiritual, and they have many deep discussions, but he is also a criminal. Lin learns counterfeiting and money laundering and rises up in the mafia. During all of this, he falls in love with a mysterious and beautiful girl, and that is a big part of the story as well, throughout the book. He eventually goes to Afghanistan to smuggle in arms and to fight along with his mentor, the mafia boss. I won’t give away more than that, but there is much, much more to the story than just that. The book is broken down into 4 parts, and each one is a story on it’s own.

Lin, the main character, is a tough guy and is used to fights and violence but the times he feels the best about himself and gets closest to forgiving himself for some of the mistakes he made in life is when he is with the simple, kind and honest people of the slum and of the little village he stays at. He feels redemption in his work at the clinic and probably would have stayed there if he had not been arrested and put in prison.

The author has a very descriptive style and he makes you feel like you can picture the various characters and places he describes. He gets into details and you can imagine everything down to the smells.

This book is an epic story of adventure, but it is really a struggle of good versus evil, in Lin’s own character and in the world of Bombay. For every good there is a evil counterpart, internally in Lin and in the world and characters surrounding Lin. The book ends in such a way that you are not sure which side has won the battle, the good or the evil, but this is on purpose and leaves you to think.

It is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it to anyone. I think it would make a good movie as well. I think Jason Statham from The Mechanic would be good in this role. Whoever plays this part needs to be a tough guy who isn’t very nice acting or good looking, but who can have a deeper side to him.

A story like this is maybe a little strange to read while I am sitting here in prison, because it is all about violence and drug use and crime. But it is also about the constant struggle in all of us to look for the good inside of us, and fight against the bad inside of us. It is not a simple story and it is not really about the drugs or the violence. I got a lot out of this book and I consider it one of the top books I have read.

Well, on another note, Thanksgiving is behind me, and it was good. I worked 12 hours straight in the kitchen and was tired but we did it up good with turkey, chicken, biscuits, and cake for dessert. I hope you all enjoyed a good Thanksgiving day with your family and the people you love. I am looking forward to the same for myself next year. I couldn’t always say this, but here lately I believe that most days, the good in me and my world is winning the battle. Hope the same is feeling true for you all.

Peace to you all ~ Magnum

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