Monday, April 19, 2010
The ending paragraph of an extraordinary book.
"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 our little consequence 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."
Shantaram tells the story of criminal who escapes from a prison in Australia and makes his way to Bombay. He dwells in the shadowed underworld of crime, but on his journey meets some incredible people whom he comes to love and he nearly sacrifices his life for them.
Some of the harsh reality and violence reminded me a little of James Frey's story, A Million Little Pieces, only in reverse. Shantaram is a novel, based on the true life story of the author, Gregory David Roberts, as opposed to Frey's 'true story' which really turned out to be a novel.
It's a heavy book, both literally (936 pages) and figuratively. Philosophy plays a large role in the story. "The only kingdom that makes any man a king is the kingdom of his own soul. The only power that has any real meaning is the power to better the world."
"Sometimes, we see the past so clearly, and read the legend of its parts with such acuity, that every stitch of time reveals its purpose, and a kind of message is enfolded in it. Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom that they give to us, even those dread and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.'
I'm so grateful to Mary for recommending this book to me. I know it will stay with me longer than most.