Some read books to idle away their time. Some read books to widen their knowledge, while many others read books to enjoy its content. I belong to this category. I enjoy reading good books particularly novels, short stories, plays, etc.
The world famous literary works of great authors such as, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Dominique Lappiere, Rabindranath Tagore, R. K. Narayan, Arundhathi Roy, Salman Rushdie, etc. have always charmed and thrilled me, giving waves of delight, leisure, relaxation and mental refreshment.
My favourite book is ‘City of Joy’ written by Dominique Lappiere. The book is a touching description of the lives of the slum-dwellers of Kolkata. The street-urchins, cycle-rickshaw pullers, city-vendors, coolies, pimps, ordinary men and women are the heroes and heroines of this story.
Their lives, their joys and suffering and their pitiable existence are vividly painted by the author. It is the story of the most unwanted people of the society. But the author finds joy, courage, excellence, and fine qualities amidst this miserable existence. The story has touched me so much that I have read this book several times during the last few years.
The most attractive feature of the book, which impressed me most, was the author’s mention of minute details. The author does not give a picture of the slums of Kolkata from far but rather presents a realistic picture with its congested dwellings, dirty drains, narrow footpaths, people’s quarrels and fights, their feasts and festivals, etc.
The beauty of narration becomes all the more thrilling when it is realistic and true. No wonder why the book has won so much international acclaim. Secondly, the superb presentation of the scenes, characters and episodes whether important or unimportant in the story, keeps the reader spellbound throughout.
The language is simple and the style of narration is down to earth. The author’s skill of characterisation is too exquisite to go unnoticed. When we read the book, a whole face of numerous lives open before us. Lappiere’s art of story building is also most impressive.
The gradual build-up of the story leading to a touching finale in the end has made Lappiere’s work a wonderful literary work, worth reading. It is a fact that if one starts reading this book, he or she would not be able to put away the book without completing it. The curiosity to know what happened to their lives and how they would end up finally keeps the reader excited and forces him/her to go on with the reading.
Over the last few years I have read many books, particularly fictions. But none of them has impressed me or touched me in this manner and brought tears to my eyes as ‘City of Joy’. To me this book is one of the finest books in the world. Its excellent qualities have made it my favourite book.