Finally, I finished reading Shantaram today :) As soon as I posted that update on facebook, friends started commenting, 'good', 'good book', ‘suggest’ etc., Well, to me, finishing the book seemed quite an achievement just as another friend commented. I’ll tell you why.. I’d bought the book on Jan 18, 2008 while on a travel, and after I was some 200 pages through safely put it down and never bothered to pick it up.. finally picked it up after almost a year later in mid-Feb, 2009 and here it is – Finished on afternoon of March 16, 2009. Achievement, ha?
Well, here's what I thought about the book-- "Slow.. not gripping.. It's elaborately descriptive on features of people, things, places.. to quantify it - I'd say - 30% Description, expressions; 30% - anecdotes, insights, philosophy, 40% - Story.."
The book is excessively (my perception) descriptive, and of course a mix of philosophy, insights, anecdotes.. However, the book does present various contrasts of good and bad in the behavior of a person even a criminal. It'll make one surely realize that 'we're all a bundle of contrast', and in the volume and magnitude of expression painted across in various chapters perhaps would give a description of your own thought patterns (maybe) - a little here and a little there.
Well, for all the reasons I know why many people wouldn't pick up this nice fat book, it's sure there are so many daily lessons given out in the book they'll miss out on. I'll try and post a few good quotes from the book in a few days time.
Towards the end of course, the story gathers pace, and there's the attention-grabbing part. Like most books, this too closes open-ended. Did Shantaram go ahead with his next assignment? Who it was finally - Karla Saranen? Lisa Carter? How and when then did the decision to leave Bombay happen? There's the catch! Even I got misguided into thinking that this was some sorta autobiography, even real events, but, it's a work of fiction, though based on personal experiences.
Once finished reading, I couldn't help researching about Shantaram on the web. It was nice to get a look at the author, and to know that there's more books coming up as a sequel. I really don't know if I'd pick up one when it's out in the market.. Depends on the size, may be :)