Book Review: City of Joy – Dominique Lapierre

My introduction to “The City of Joy” has been fairly late, but the brilliance of the book has not faded with time. The topic of India has always been close to my heart and there are a few books out there which can describe the pain and joy of living in that part of the world. This masterpiece by Lapierre truly brings forth the suffering, hope and joy felt by the poorest of the poor.

I had initially read Lapierre’s and Larry Collins book – ‘Freedom at Midnight’ and was impressed by the style of writing. It is difficult to create an eminently readable non fiction book and I was looking forward to continuing that experience with City of Joy.

Amongst my most indelible impressions of the book is to give a slum a human face. For a lot of us who have lived in a third world country be it in Central, South America, Africa or Asia, we have lived side by side with slums and an ever growing city. The eyesore which greeted us on a regular basis is often an object of scorn without us failing to realize in what conditions people are condemned to such an existence.

Dominique Lapierre has succeeded in giving human faces and emotions to the faceless masses in slums. By sharing the struggles faced by the poor, their sorrows and joy, the author has succeeded in opening a window to their existence. The book takes you through several journeys of introspection and privileges enjoyed by us solely based on the accident of our birth.

The book of a few hundred pages may leave lasting impressions on its readers and has truly succeeded in spreading hope and joy to millions of readers, if not inspiring a few more selfless people to devote their lives to helping the poor and downtrodden.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is costly, care for it.
Life is wealth, keep it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is mystery, know it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorry, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it !

– Mother Teresa

2 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Joy – Dominique Lapierre”

  1. Will make it a point to read the book. Mumbai nowadays is so INFESTED with people, it takes a lot to actually look past the irritation they cause. We tend to become totally immune to their plight, caught up as we are with our wonderful daily urban existences. Sometimes while watching them through the bus… their misery really hits home. Silently cursing the system that makes them live so is my only recourse. Had written a short story on their plight some time back… do check out

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