The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts

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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:36 pm

Shantaram and The Mountain Shadow are very different books, even though both focus on the same small set of individuals. Imagine you are introducing each book to a new reader. Putting aside any editorial concerns we might have about The Mountain Shadow, how do these two books differ? What encouragement would you give your reader friend? What will you take away from your reading of Roberts two tales?

We had to wait a good amount of time for Roberts' second book. Do you think that Roberts' second tale gave us a necessary further look into Lin's life? Has reading The Mountain Shadow changed your sense of what Roberts intended in his expansive and deep tour of Mumbai and surroundings?
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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby Liz » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:51 am

The Mountain Shadow cannot compare with Shantaram. Shantaram was an epic. It was beautifully written. It had colorful characters. I did not feel that way about The Mountain Shadow. It was almost like it had two different authors. And our discussion of Shantaram was probably our best discussion ever on ONBC.
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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby Dusi » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:17 am

I have the impression the undertone of The Mountain Shadow is darker and more violent than Shantaram. Don't know why. Maybe because in Shantaram there was Prabu, who seemed to be happy most of the time. It was more lighthearted. All this gang violence in TMS really was annoying to me. I always thought: What's the cause? Why? while in Shantaram it was more like the end justifies the means.
Or maybe it's just because the world itself and my look at it changed.
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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:17 am

Dusi, I agree with that observation.

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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:26 pm

Dusi wrote:I have the impression the undertone of The Mountain Shadow is darker and more violent than Shantaram. Don't know why. Maybe because in Shantaram there was Prabu, who seemed to be happy most of the time. It was more lighthearted. All this gang violence in TMS really was annoying to me. I always thought: What's the cause? Why? while in Shantaram it was more like the end justifies the means.
Or maybe it's just because the world itself and my look at it changed.


Yes, that is an excellent observation. You know, maybe Roberts knew that violence was and would always be part of Lin's equation, and he stuck with that, for the most part, until the end. I am so curious about Lin's actions at the end, simultaneously throwing his knives into the ocean while almost immediately meeting with a stranger who suggests that Lin is the man who will do anything. Such a loose thread, you know?

In any case, I loved Shantaram and remember being so absorbed in that book I thought of little else. The Mountain Shadow wasn't that, but I truly blame the editing. There's a better book buried in those pages, stuck in the mud of too many words.
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The Mountain Shadow Question #22--Compare Both Books

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:52 pm

I think I answered this in an earlier question.

I think the two books go well together.
In Shantaram, Lin is a man on the run, hunted and in fear of his life. He lands in a little Mecca and quickly meets some very interesting people that take his mind off his troubles, at least for a while. He was enjoying his new lifestyles, cultures, learning new languages, meeting new people, etc. And by being involved with the slum dwellers, he finally felt a sense of pride and purpose. He was looked up to, respected, and admired. Life was good.
However, his past kept haunting him as he was thrown into jail and beaten, he owed a great deal to Kaderbhai and pledged his loyalty to him as a result. This led Lin back to a life he knew well, but didn't necessarily enjoy. By the time he went to war in Afghanistan, the honeymoon was over. He learned the truth about Kaderbhai, Abdullah, Karla, and many others.
Where would he go from here? Who could he trust? Does he still owe any allegiance to the Company now that Kaderbhai is gone? Should he continue to pursue Karla now that she's married? Can he trust Abdullah or will he become a "disappointment" like the others? What about all of the new gangs forming? How should that be approached?

The Mountain Shadow had a lot of loose ends to pick up and I think Lin's journey/life needed to take a dark turn, so he could pursue a different reality and purpose. He was forced to question everything he believed and take a hard look at his life before going forward. Making the decision to leave the Company was painful and difficult. It also meant his life-long protection from that group was gone. He was vulnerable again...to India, to police, to Australia, to all gangs, anyone/everyone. Was it the right decision? He had to keep searching and growing as a person. He had to learn things the hard way.

This could be reflective of any of our lives. How many times have we felt we were running from something? How many times have our own lives been affected by violence? How many of us have lost special people in our world and how did that loss affect our own lives/actions/ability to move forward? How many times have we felt secure in a situation because it was convenient, but not necessarily the best of situations to be in? How difficult was it for us to make long-lasting changes and life-altering decisions?

I think Roberts had a very definite purpose for both books. He needed to show that although it seemed like Lin had a good life, there were serious consequences involved. Lessons had to be learned. Friends had to be lost. And he had to look in different directions to move forward. I thought the books worked well together. The first book had to draw you in, just like that world had to draw in Lin. But the reality had to be brought out in the second book or else there would be no growth or lessons learned.

I think Lin is on the road to a more meaningful life. He may hit some speed bumps along the way and be faced with some temptations, but I think he will be fine. He's a survivor.


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