The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts is the follow up to the author’s beautiful, classic novel Shantaram.
It’s two years since the events of Shantaram, and the story flows neatly in the first few chapters, rekindling relationships with those wonderful characters such as Lin, Didier, Karla and Khaderbhai. The main protagonist is again Lin, a fugitive, escaped from an Australian maximum security prison continuing to live in the underworld of Bombay, India; he’s still escaping – albeit with new leaders and new rules – from all aspects of his life: crime, love, hate, betrayal and fate.
The story lines carry well for the most part, without capturing the vivid essence of Shantaram. A critical flaw with The Mountain Shadow is its overuse of metaphors, weak philosophies and pithy quotes.
As with Shantaram, at the heart of The Mountain Shadow is India. This work provides a beautiful depiction of a great country – in particular, the beauty of Bombay. The sights, sounds and smells come to life through Roberts’ writing.
I found The Mountain Shadow to be a much faster read than Shantaram, even with a similar, weighty, page count of 872 pages. Like Shantaram, the book could have been shorter and had the same impact. Despite its weaknesses its worth reading, but read Shantaram first.
It has been two years since the events in Shantaram, and since Lin lost two people he had come to love: his father figure, Khaderbhai, and his soul mate, Karla, married to a handsome Indian media tycoon. Lin returns from a smuggling trip to a city that seems to have changed too much, too soon. Many of his old friends are long gone, the new mafia leadership has become entangled in increasingly violent and dangerous intrigues, and a fabled holy man challenges everything that Lin thought he’d learned about love and life. But Lin can’t leave the Island City: Karla, and a fatal promise, won’t let him go. (from the book cover)
Buy a copy: The Mountain Shadow