Written by the Australian, Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram is an autobiographical novel that was first published in 2003 and has sold more than a million copies the world over. It is the story of Roberts who escaped from an Australian prison and made his way to India where he lived for ten years amongst Indians.
The novel begins with the escape of an Australian convict called Lindsay who escapes from jail and lands up in the city of Mumbai, India. Although intended as a stop-over, Lindsay stays on in India for the next ten years and the book revolves around his experiences there and his journey to find a purpose for his life.
Here he befriends an Indian called Prabhakar who introduces him to other people and finds Lin a home in the slums of Mumbai. Since he is perceived as a peaceful foreigner by the Indians, it is here that he gets a new name called Shantaram, meaning Man of Peace. Lin then becomes accustomed to his life in the slums and learns to live along with other locals.
All along the novel, Shantaram tends to return to his old ways of crime and violence but each time returns back to the good side becoming a better and more learned man. He befriends several local people, movie stars, criminals and also begins to love an American woman by the name of Karla.
Lin also manages to travel abroad to Africa and Afghanistan through his connections where he deals in the illegal trading of weapons and arms. However, when his mentor dies, Lin regrets his crime filled ways and decides to live a better life. He returns back to India, shunning his old ways and tries to become a better man and changes himself from within.
The story ends with Lin deciding to travel to Sri Lanka where the sequel of the book is planned. Available at all leading bookstores, this book is still on every major best-seller list worldwide. In case you’re looking for discounts, then one should order online from some of the online retailers. Shantaram is a must read book for everyone who is looking for a purpose in life.