"The city of joy",is not "Las vegas" but a slum called "Anand nagar" in kolkatta.I would love to rechristen the book and call it "The book of love". Once someone told me "Love is absolute and it aint relative"! If you are capable of love,you can love everyone and everything that comes your way.Dominique lapierre is a french novelist,from America who sees India, through unseen eyes.The book revolves around the beautiful people in the "city of joy", who are lepers, eunuchs, rickshaw pullers,the major sufferers of aristocracy and a not so old polish priest Stephan kovalski.
A cathartic feeling arises while reading about Kovalski, who abandons eveything just to live in the midst of people in abject penury and a place full of filth.Anand nagar also houses an american doctor Max Loeb who dedicates his life to love and live with rodents and his bengali brothers who suffer from various whip of diseases.The heedless pride and the hypocrit in me vanished while turning the pages marked part 3 that let me know what an ordinary man (Kovalski) with an extraordinary power of Love can do.Another major charater is Hasari Pal, a peasant who comes to kolkatta, to become a rickshaw walla and to live within extreme squalor, epitome of doldrums and maelstorm of life.The "city of Joy" is not about the people in pain but it is about the joy and fervour that the people in pain bring home.
The book has brought in alot of changes within me, yet i still have not attained the overpowering nature of love that will let me go touch a leper in distress( i am no saint) but i have surely learned to throw a smile, some respect and not make a face when i see a leper or a eunuch.
THE BOOK IS A MUST READ. I am not going to rate the book, because i dont think its appopriate to do so.Its easier said than done.