Thursday, 6 May 2010
SHANTARAM, a critique and a passion
Do you ever reread books that just make you stop in your tracks?
I'm an avid reader of detective novels and women's stories I devour them. If the story is enthralling me I just can't wait to find out the ending. I'm known to rush through not reading properly in my haste to know who-dun-it or whatever.
But I have just read a book that didn't let me do that.I bought this book for Kit's last birthday. Now my eldest son reads really intelligent books, not the tripe I get through. I understand that he loves the beauty of words and I love escaping into a ripping yarn.
However when I was staying with him recently I finished whatever book I'd taken with me and I picked up the book I'd bought for him the year before. And I was hooked.
933 pages of being hooked. Every word read carefully and lots of paragraphs read again so that I fully got the essence of the words. It's taken me three weeks to read, which is slow by my standards.I haven't read anything that I so wanted to absorb all the words and let them flow over me for a very long time, or if ever.
The story line in this book is quite disturbing. It's sold as a novel, but in fact it echoes what the author went through during the 1980s. But it's not the story line that got me. It is the spiritual words intermingled throughout as the protagonist travels on his journey. It is a violent, and at times very disturbing book. So the juxtaposition of violence and emotional intelligence makes it an absorbing read. The journey from hellish real times into inner peace that we all crave.The desperate need for light after the darkness. The need for meaning, that existentialist need to find our own souls that enables us to cope alone emotionally however our life circumstances are. We will leave this life alone and we all need to get there knowing inner peace. This book touches that again and again in my opinion
The author Gregory David Roberts, has indeed lived a life very few people will ever come close to. But for him to be able to write with such spiritual growth and development, blows me away.
I'm so totally impressed with Shantaram that I've even gone and bought another three copies, so I can give them to people I think will appreciate their essence.
I'll finish this with some of his own words, in fact the very last paragraph as this sums up all our lives, however our journeys are. And I hope that if you ever come across this book that you'll pick it up and love it as much as I do.
" For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add all our little consequences to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love: the passionate search for a truth other than our own. With longing: the pure,ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on. God help us. God forgive us. We live on."
Gregory David Roberts - Shantaram