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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars29
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2000
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.
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on 1 April 2011
An amazing true story, about a Christian man going to live with the people in the slums, as they live, rather than most aid workers who stay in the local 4 star hotel! Really good insight into how people live in slums of India and tales of their lives. Made me laugh and made me cry. This book is esy to read and definitely had a big influence on the way I think about others, about faith and sprituality and also about what is missing in our lives when we thought we had it all! One of the best books I've ever read - truly inspirational!
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on 1 October 2007
City of Joy...first came to my attention some years ago as the movie, i`m not even sure if i`d heard of it before but something compelled me to watch it as it was based on fact! I was touched by the film........and this left me wanting to get a copy of the book. What a totally amazing story of peoples spirit. You feel for the characters, even though you will never know them. It makes you sit up and take stock of what`s important in your life. For some, it may be money, others material things or it could even be religion.You realise that for these people in this story, the crux of their life is..... simply surviving from day to day. Read this book, and be prepared to be taken on a journey and be amazed....!! I was!!!
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on 28 February 2011
I first read this book about 20 years ago, since then I have bought it for many friends, who I have thought would enjoy it in the way that I did. Don't be put off by the rather naff film tie-in cover, or be tempted to watch the film. Its the kind of book that really changes how you look at life, and what you see as being your part in it.
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on 5 September 2007
Having spent a few days in Kolkata I felt obliged to buy the book. I put off reading it until I had run out of alternatives. Then I couldn't put it down. 30 years ago the Lord of the Rings forced me to take 3 days off college to read cover to cover - this book has had a similar impact. Read it and you start to understand Kolkata/India, the trouble is you can't explain it to those who have not been and have not read the book. You also start to feel total inadequate, as a tourist, as a rich westerner, as a person. Read it if you dare to find out about the real India then go to Kolkata if you want to find out about the real you. Be careful though - you will not want to come back.
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on 24 February 2014
The book was a bit old-looking and slightly dusty, however at 1 pence second-hand plus p&p I won't be picky about that! Love reading it, though the injustice of the plight of the poor in India makes you quite angry. I'm also more conscious about what I'm eating: We have food in such abundance & eat too much, many in our society even get sick from chronic over-eating. In contrast, the slum dwellers have malnourished children who often cry themselves to sleep for hunger. It is set in the seventies, as far as I can make out, but have the nasty feeling things might not have changed an awful lot for the poorest of the poor. The strength of the book is that it gives you different view points of a number of characters who come together in this slum, including a couple of idealistic Westerners, and it is well-written. There's also the occasional background information on relevant history, and on Hindu rituals and festivities.
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on 16 March 2007
I read this book before going to Kolkata for volunteer work. I couldn't have prepared better with this beautifully written, passionate novel of the amazing world of Kolkata. If you want to experience India or just read an amazing novel about the joy in the midst of poverty or the heroes who fought to eradicate it then this is the book for you.

This is in my mind one of the books that has influenced me the most in my life, buy it you won't regret it!
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on 17 February 2010
So much more than in the film which was excellent and led me to buying this book. The film only shows a small part of this book so there is plenty to get your teeth into here. It can be a bit heavy for night time reading but a great read all the same. A tough life, one that is hard to imagine when you live in a rich country.
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on 16 December 2007
I read this book by chance and enjoyed reading it. It is hard for some of us who are relatively well off to understand that life still goes on despite poverty and deprivation of the hardest type. This book expresses very well the human spirit and the soul of India and one wishes this book could go on forever.
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on 15 June 2013
I have experience of rural India but only visited a couple of the larger cities.l have also come across such icredible humane people like Dominique Lapierre, albeit they had very little financial backing to start with. Such people are living saints to have the courage, detemination and faith in their cause to be able to leave the western world with all it comforts and help the desparately poor, lame and ill.
This is India in the raw but without the smell, heat, dirt(filth) and feel the discomfort of hunger and bugs..
A wonderful account of a hard life. It would be an eye opener for the idle and disaffected of the western world.
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