I heard about this yesterday, confirmed it with the bookshops today.
You apparently aren't allowed to buy Gregory David Roberts' book Shantaram.
I lifted this description of the novel from ReviewsofBooks.com, which has links to the newspapers which reviewed it:
Shantaram is the fictionalized account of the real life adventures of author Gregory David Roberts. The narrator is a man called Lin, escaped from an Australian jail and arriving in Bombay, India with a fake New Zealand passport. He immediately meets a taxi driver named Prabaker who gives him tours of the city and a hut in the local slum. Lin starts a free clinic for the people in the slum, and to provide for his own income, he sells drugs to tourists. This gets him the attention of the local gangsters, and he's increasingly pulled into their world of crime, from counterfeiting to gun running to passport schemes. Lin falls in love, nearly dies in an Indian prison, and survives a continuing series of adventures. More than just an account of drugs and crime, Shantaram is the story of a man who, even in a life of violence, genuinely loves those in his life and the city that became his home, Bombay. Shantaram has received positive reviews with The Telegraph saying, "Shantaram is an exuberant, swashbuckling story of derring-do, told with reckless gusto and obvious affection, and if Roberts is no sort of stylist (and he isn't), you'd have to be a snob not to admit to enjoying yourself."So exactly why has the novel got up the nose of
The book was in the shops and apparently selling well. (I seem to remember someone telling me that it was a best seller in Singapore). Friends who bought it told me it was a book i have to read. Sheila Singham reviewed it very favourably in The Edge. As far as I know it provoked no riots or street demonstrations, didn't have a negative effect on the moral mindset of teenagers, stirred no shrieks of outrage among the reading population of the metropolis. Perhaps it is the references to drugs the authorities have taken exception to. (But if that's the case shouldn't other books with references to drugs also disappear e.g Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ... and the poetry of John Keats and Coleridge?)
We know we won't get an official reason out of the KDN.
So would those of you who've read the book like to speculate? I've also dropped a line to the author and invite his response too. Meanwhile, you can go and tour his website and look for further clues.
I'm thinking we should do a public reading from banned books soon.
Deepika's review of Shantaram.
Index: On Censorship