Shantaram

Then he smiled. It was the biggest smile she’d ever seen. It was radiant, and suffused with an irrepressible good humor. She looked into that prodigious smile, and a strange feeling took hold of her. She smiled back at him, despite herself, and felt a rush of well-being, an indefinable but overwhelming sanguine cheerfulness. Things will turn out right, the voice of her heart said to her. Everything will be all right. She knew, just as I’d known when I saw Prabaker for the first time, that no man who smiled with so much of his heart would knowingly hurt or harm another. (page 126)

When we’re young, we think that suffering is something that’s done to us. When we get older—when the steel door slams shut, in one way or another— we know that real suffering is measured by what’s taken away from us. (page 301)

You now the difference between news and gossip, don’t you? News tells you what people did. Gossip tells you how much they enjoyed it. (page 363)

What characterises the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it? I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I’m lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn’t cruelty or shame that characterises the human race. It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work or art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive. (page 370)

Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

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