Shantaram By Gregory David Roberts

9780349117546

In the early 1980s, Gregory David Roberts, sentenced to a 19-year imprisonment for a series of armed robberies in Australia, escaped from Victoria’s Pentridge Prison and became one of Australia’s most wanted men for the next ten years. Shantaram is a novel influenced by the real events that follow his escape.

The book describes how the main character Lin lands in Bombay (now Mumbai), falls in love, befriends local artists and actors, and is recruited by the Mumbai underworld for various criminal operations. Ultimately, he spends time in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Prison and endures brutal physical and mental abuse. Lin eventually gets released with the help of the Afghan mafia don and begins to work for him. When the don is killed, Lin comes to the bitter realization that he has turned into a person he loathed and decides to build an honest life.

This debut novel is a must read. People who live or have ever lived in Mumbai will be able to relate to it a lot. Once you begin to read it, the ever so daunting 900+ pages will not bother you at all.

The Bat By Jo Nesbo

the-bat

This book was unavailable in most of the bookstores when I tried to look for it. This is the first book in Jo Nesbo‘s Harry Hole (the main protagonist) series. I was disappointed to read The Bat after reading Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman and The Leopard, probably because these two books had set the level of thrill, the chase, and the suspense very high for me.

In the story, the Norwegian police officer Harry Hole comes to Sydney to serve as the Norwegian attaché for the Australian police’s investigation into the murder of a young female Norwegian celebrity, Inger Holter, who was residing there. The story is woven intricately with various characters, who at one time or another may look as possible suspects.

It is a little slow in the beginning but the second half is definitely better and more enjoyable. But now after reading it I can safely say that Jo Nesbo’s latter novels are much better. The Bat isn’t as thrilling, exciting, terrifying, as I expected it to be.