Thursday, 14 April 2016

March reviews

Gregory David Roberts
Abacus 28/06/2012 Paperback
Christmas Haul

I don't know what to make of this. 900 pages of this amazing life that had me page turning for at least the first 600. It's the true story of Gregory David Roberts after he arrives in Bombay on the run from an Australian Prison. It's described as a literary masterpiece, which means it's difficult to pay attention to and not to be read in fifteen minute increments.
A problem that I often run into with stories about real life is that no matter how amazing the experiences, its just one thing after another. And then the mafia got involved, and then I got in a fight and then I made a friend, and then I remembered that I ought to mention that I was in love with a woman, because readers like that.
Which brings me to my next point. The romance, the love story, in fact any of the relationships in this book were absolutely the most unromantic, unrealistic parts of the book. He seems to mention the lady he fancies when ever he remembers, oh yes, and that's because of a thing X said to me once, ah she's so great.
He treats her like she is the BIG love of his life, they slept together once or twice in the whole book and mostly were not even in contact. It's the delusional ramblings of a middle aged guy remembering some girl he was infatuated with. It reads like a teenage fantasy.
The philosophical and spiritual discussions are DRY. I didnt come here for physics and string theory! I did love the descriptions of India, both in Bombay and in a rural village. the experience of walking through the streets seems to be well set out but as soon as GDR starts talking to anyone I wanted to skip forward.
He makes a lot of mistakes that makes me think that many of the events were over dramatic. He spends most of the books as a criminal hard man wrestling his way through street fights and coming up on top. Then towards the end of the book he says: "I was no fighter." YOU JUST CAME BACK FROM A WAR. The clash between what happens and how GDR reacts/comments on it is disappointing throughout the book.
Long, dry, thrilling, literary. Its a book of contradictions and I'm not sure I like it. I think I'm doubly resentful because I stuck with it and finished it and it sucked up the whole of March.

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