Shantaram = Good book.

A real page turner without it actually devolving into super piss-poor bestseller prose. It’s not the literary book of the year or anything, but it was a damn good read. (Don’t get offended if you like the book — the author writes well enough, but he’s not up there with Chabon, Atwood, nor McCarthy).

The book is by Gregory David Roberts. He is an Australian writer who now permanently resides in Mumbai, India. Shantaram is semi-autobiographical — although it is a work of fiction.

Gregory Roberts (like his fictional protagonist, Lin), was incarcerated in Australia. He escaped from prison. He fled to India to start a new life (like his fictional protagonist). And you should just read the book . . .

It’s going to be made into a movie. Apparently Johnny Depp loved it like I did and convinced a few of his friends to back it. I am not as influential as Johnny.

However, I wanted to talk about the book before the movie came out and of course, inevitably, the movie inspired cover that I will be embarassed to be seen with (a vestige of my English major snob ways — what are you gonna do?).

Any book that convinces you to travel to another country is something. Mumbai here I come . . .

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