By: Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram is powerful, entrancing, and beautiful. At over 900 pages long, it's as thick as a dictionary, but the pages almost turned themselves—I read the book in a mere week. It's a work of fiction, as the characters and dialog were created by Roberts, but the unbelievable chain of events come directly from his life. From escaping maximum security prison to slum doctor to Indian gangster to fighting Russians in Pakistan, Roberts has lived one of the toughest, most fascinating of human lives. The story, the flow of prose, and the deep wells of philosophy put Shantaram near the top of the list of the best books I've ever read.