Gregory Roberts has a resume that makes DBC Pierre look like an amateur. Roberts was known as the Gentleman Bank Robber, hung out with the bhailog in Bombay, knows jails from the inside out–and ran a street charity alongside. His account of his experiences, Shantaram, is doing pretty well. A Novel View has the most extensive set of pages on Roberts and his book–there’s tons of information, presented in a groupie-meets-the-maharishi fashion that starts to grow on you after a while.

Hari Menon writes in Outlook: “Roberts eventually found himself working for one of Bombay’s most powerful mafia dons, and at one level his is a gripping adventure story, drenched in drugs, violence and filled with some remarkable characters.

At another, it’s an accurate picture of the expat scene in India in the late ’70s and ’80s. Backpackers stepping off the plane at Santa Cruz airport were less likely to be hippies seeking transcendence than people on the run in search of a good time and some business. Bombay’s welcoming touts and gangsters were only too happy to get into bed with them, and not just metaphorically.”

Elsewhere, Roberts was on the lam–from his own launch party.

From PN Online: “IT HAS to be a first – a book launch party where the author failed to turn up. One hour into Time Warner’s party at the October Gallery in Holborn to celebrate Gregory David Roberts’ novel Shantaram, CEO David Young was not the only one glancing at his watch. Roberts’ editor Antonia Hodgson put a brave face on it with agent Bruce Hunter, but was dismayed when she heard that Roberts was ‘changing hotels’.”

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