City of Joy, quite simply, is the most evocative book I have ever read. For those readers who have seen the film, it bears no relationship to the book except in the vaguest sense. The characters have been changed and it does not tingle the senses in the same unforgettable way. Life in Calcutta is portrayed in such fine detail that when the sewers overflow in the monsoon rains, you actually smell the stench. You can see the children picking over the rubbish tips, taking home their findings, the families living in the streets, and the bicycles all but run over your toes. By the end of the book, it is all one can do not to hop on the first plane to India to help the poor unfortunates who make up such an appreciable part of the city. In the opening chapters, I had to be a little tenacious to give the tale time to unfold, but after that, I did not want to stop until the book was finished - and I was left wanting more, much more.