The moving voice of American short-story writer ZZ Packer, whose understated observations of human nature have the power to get under a reader’s radar. Packer’s stories, in her collection titled Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, are set across a range of black communities in the US. Yet these stories defy colour, race, religion and gender, stripping away layers until what’s left are small, fragile human moments that are jarringly familiar and poignantly slight.
On Books & Writing this week, Shantaram—an epic novel, based on what happened when Gregory David Roberts found that ‘doing time’ for armed robbery was too much. He fled Australia, fell into the arms of India and began a vast journey of body and soul.
Greg Roberts spoke to Michael Shirrefs about his love of Bombay, about his time living and working in the Bombay slums and about the chaos of Bollywood and the violent orderliness of the Mumbai ‘mafia’.
In Shantaram, Greg Roberts manages to deliver both a riveting tale of an extreme life, as well as a modern allegory of the universal search for clarity, all told against this boisterous and colourful backdrop of Indian splendour.