I love this book because:
- Its set almost entirely in Bombay. Salaam Bombay.
- It gives a very heart-felt view of India, Indians, and everything Indian.
- It reminds me a lot of Godfather (the book). It also reminded me of my first read of Godfather, which, sadly, happened only once.
- It also reminded me of Harold Robbins’s Never Love a Stranger. There is something about the first person narrative that Nabokov abuses in Lolita to trick the reader, but Roberts uses with elan. I have rarely liked a first person narrative more than this.
- I love sweeping sagas.
- I loved the trivia: on knife fighting, on the Automatic Kalashnikov assault rifles, the inner workings of the Bombay Underworld, the Afghan War, Colaba, gritty slum life in Bombay, and a whole lot more.
- The terrific one liners. There are so many of them, a few brilliant, a few corny, and a few unbelievably true.
- Made me introspect on aspects of my life which I had buried for a long time.
- Brought tears to my eyes more than once.
- Is a gripping page-turner. 900+ pages in 3 days?!?
- Celebrates the human spirit.
- The romantic in me is happy and content; the cynic in me smiling.
Shantaram will be one of my favorite books for a long time to come.