Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “La ciudad de la alegría” as Want to Read:
La ciudad de la alegría
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

La ciudad de la alegría

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  4,102 Ratings  ·  372 Reviews
Un sacerdote francés, un joven médico norteamericano, una enfermera de Assam y un ex campesino indio que se gana la vida tirando del rickshaw se encuentran un día bajo las cataratas del monzón y se instalan en el alucinante decorado de un barrio de Calcuta para cuidar, ayudar, salvar. Condenados a ser héroes, pelearán, lucharán y vencerán en medio de las inundaciones, las ...more
503 pages
Published April 2nd 2004 by SEIX BARRAL (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about La ciudad de la alegría, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about La ciudad de la alegría

The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Indian Books
697 books — 2,198 voters
The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterThe Far Pavilions by M.M. KayeShantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Books Set in India
355 books — 289 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Emon
Jul 16, 2007 Emon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book inspired by true story. To write this book, Dominique Lappier had to live in slum area in Calcutta, India for about two years. So that this slum area became the setting of the book.

The book told about the story of epic in a place called Anand Nagar or City of Joy. For Brother Stephan - a priest from Poland - came to this place made him to a suprise. He had to live in such filtry condition: a few water to share, bad sanition, etc. But, here, Stephan found the light of God that he seeked
...more
Adam
Feb 04, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most amazing books I read; it changed my life! What sticks out in my mind to this day was reading about the poor giving the very last of their food to another who was even more poor and had less.

I finished this book in the Denver International airport between flights and cried my eyes out! Such a beautiful book, I recomend everyone to read it!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The person who lent me this book was not someone I consider a close friend. When I gave it back to her she asked me if I "enjoyed" it. Without thinking, I responded, "It's not the kind of book you "enjoy", it's the kind of book that changes your life." She didn't get it.

It certainly changed my perspective on a lot of things. Yes, it is a novel, but it's based on the author's experiences with Calcutta's poorest. For some odd reason, it made me very aware of just how dependent we are in the West o
...more
Kirtida Gautam
Dec 18, 2014 Kirtida Gautam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
One of the most significant spiritual experience of my life has happened around this book. I had moved to Mumbai. Loneliness and depression were my accompanying emotions- 24*7. During those days, I didn't use to have money and I used to travel by buses. I was reading this book on the bus. The conductor gave me the ticket. He asked me how did I find the book? Now, this is not a title you expect to be read by the bus conductor. But he told me he has read the book. He started talking with me about ...more
fraulein
Oct 17, 2016 fraulein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buku yang mengusik hati sampai lama sekali setelah selesai dibaca. Sampai sekarang mau membaca ulang pun rasanya sangat berat.

Penderitaan adalah salah satu hal tak terelakkan dalam kehidupan manusia. Tetapi ketika manusia didorong sampai batasnya oleh penderitaan dan tetap bisa menemukan kebahagiaan, mungkin (imo) mereka adalah manusia paripurna yang sesungguhnya.
Vivek
Nov 18, 2012 Vivek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read such a beautiful book in recent times. Not that the writing is all that good, but the content and the real stories of struggle,pain and the spirit to life that strives even in the worst of conditions makes you wonder about the sheer mental strength it takes to be one among the original "City of Joy".

Though the setting is quite similar to largely explored themes in Indian movies and books by now, the sheer intensity of involvement of the main characters with the many heroes of the
...more
Anil Swarup
Nov 16, 2014 Anil Swarup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is one of the most amazing books one has ever come across. The pathos of chaos couldn't have been better described. The book does not celebrate poverty but the author paints an incredible picture of the denizens of this city of Joy : "The poorer they were, the more eager they were to give ". He goes to describe "the miracle of these concentration camps" where "the accumulation of disastrous elements were counter balanced by other factors that allowed their inhabitants not merely to remain ful ...more
Kevin
Feb 07, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing
I am not sure how to start in my review for this book. As a read it was written in a style that keeps you engaged. Alternating most chapters back and forth between two story lines allows you to become involved with the current and still be expectant about the coming chapter. Eventually both of these stories weave into one. Having just recently been to India I found the details to be accurate and he paints a viable image so you can see the story as you read it.

From a social standpoint, I was rep
...more
Ann
Dec 23, 2007 Ann rated it really liked it
Ok, so I know they made some movie based on this book with Patrick Swayze, but that is irrelevant. This book tells the story of life in India and the struggles of a family forced to leave their country home and migrate to the crowded city of Calcutta if I remember correctly. I'm pretty sure that it is not a true story, but based on real events-maybe it's historical fiction. Anyway, I thought it was great.
Abi barlow
Mar 06, 2008 Abi barlow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
probably my favorite book ever. I read it in 1999 whilst i was in India, and perhaps the fact that i was there made the scenes more vivid and real for me. Its an amazing depiction of how joy love and kindness can exist in povery, squalor and hardship.
Susanna Meynle
Kolkata is the one place in India that I travel to often. One of the places I actually want to go to college to.

To say this book changed my life is too much of an understatement. This book warms my heart as much as it breaks my heart.

My dad is Indian but he's not from mainland India, so he belongs to 'Tribal India'. We stay in a small city which was popularly known in the old days (and until now) as "Scotland of the East" due to the fact that the weather is pretty pleasant here as compared to
...more
Margareth
Aug 25, 2008 Margareth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorite
India...Selalu menarik dijadikan latar belakang cerita. Sarat dengan beragam budayanya yang unik. Sebut saja Interpreter of Maladies, God of the Small things, Rumah untuk tuan Biswas, Namesake, dll. Ditambah lagi buku yang satu ini.

Membaca buku ini termasuk menguras emosi, ada saat kita merasa ikut terharu, miris, marah, jijik, gemas, dan takjub.

Dari buku ini kita juga bisa belajar lebih banyak tentang makna 'joy'/bahagia. Bahwa kebahagiaan bisa muncul dan ada di mana saja. Termasuk di Calcuta,
...more
Lis
Jan 04, 2016 Lis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprato quasi per caso, l'ho visto gironzolando in libreria e mi ha incuriosito.
Ho letto di persone che vendono il sangue per mangiare e vendono le proprie ossa (dopo la morte) per pagare la dote della figlia. Ho letto di persone che fanno la fila per ore per andare in bagno e lavarsi con mezzo litro di acqua...quando va bene. Ho letto di persone annegate in un tombino dopo un monsone. Ho letto di persone morte di fatica mentre trascinavano un risciò con cui a stento guadagnavano da mangiare p
...more
Bunga Mawar
Bayangkan di pertengahan 1980-an itu ada seorang anak kelas dua SD, di Jakarta pinggiran.
Bayangkan anak itu hanya mendapat uang jajan duapuluhlima rupiah seminggu, sedangkan teman sekelasnya ada yang menghabiskan jajan seratus rupiah sehari.
Bayangkan anak ini belum boleh membaca cerpen di "Kompas Minggu", hingga ia setia menunggu jatah membaca cerbungnya saja, menanti kisah Musashi, Kane & Abel, dan juga City of Joy ini.

Bayangkan anak sekecil itu kemudian jadi trauma dan bertekad tidak mau m
...more
C-shaw
Jan 19, 2013 C-shaw rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves the kudos which it has always received. What a heartbreaking, interesting story, based upon true lives of Calcutta's poorest-of-the-poor.

Sad story, very hard to read about the plight of these people. An interesting fact: Dominique LaPierre's wife is also named Domimique!
Hitesh
3 reasons why you MUST read this book .

1. It will inspire you to be extremely hopeful of life.

2. It will make you so much more humble and grounded.

3. The book has instances that will make you shiver and yet provide invaluable lessons of life.

Darnia
(Kemungkinan besar bakalan jadi)MY 2015 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Baru kali ini gw berharap dan berdoa dalam hati saat membaca sebuah buku. Terutama bab yg menceritakan tentang Hasari Pal, mantan petani dari desa Bengkuli, Benggala Barat, yg terpaksa hijrah ke Calcutta karena sudah tidak memiliki apa-apa di desa. Tiap memulai bab dengan tokoh Hasari ini, gw selalu berharap agar bab tersebut berakhir dengan kebahagiaan untuknya dan berdoa agar penderitaannya nggak makin bertambah. Ternyata, kebanyakan
...more
Sethu Jose
May 26, 2016 Sethu Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read books to live those lives that you could never have.

The City of Joy is a book that would plunge you into a vortex of bare reality filled with misery, abjection, hope and love. Finally, when you emerge from this whirlwind of experiences, your view on life would never be the same.

When I picked up this book to get a relief from the bunch of overwhelmingly high soaring books which I had been reading recently, little did I know that it was a cornucopia of humanity which would leave an everlastin

...more
Tucker
May 02, 2014 Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exposé of poverty in wretched detail. People die slowly from backbreaking work or from hunger, or their limbs melt from leprosy long after their families have banished them because of the disease, or they fall into festering sewers and drown unnoticed. The slums of Calcutta arose due to an influx of people who exchanged the deprivation of the rural life for urban poverty, which was just another kind of precarious existence: "The earthquake that shook Bihar on January 15, 1937, caused hundreds ...more
ApettaVale
Jul 18, 2014 ApettaVale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
Ho voluto leggere questo libro per due motivi: il primo perchè dopo essere stata a Luxor e aver visto veramente cosa vuol dire la miseria, volevo "capirla"; il secondo, perchè dopo aver visto il film tratto dal romanzo diversi anni fa ne ero rimasta veramente affascinata.
Spesso accade che troviamo il libro nettamente migliore del film; in questo caso sono semplicemente diversi. Entrambi però lasciano un messaggio, e cioè che nella società in cui viviamo, in cui abbiamo tutto, in verità possedia
...more
Jessica Culhane
Sep 23, 2015 Jessica Culhane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read The City of Joy almost twenty years ago, in middle school. It had a profound effect on me, so when I saw a copy of it a few months ago in a book store, I bought it immediately. The second reading did not disappoint.

Much of the scenery of 1960s Calcutta was familiar to me as a tourist earlier this year to an entirely different part of India: the religious cacophony, the slum labor, the baksheesh, the festivals, the filth. Wild traffic, marigolds, eunuchs, kurtas and saris. Truly Kafkaesque
...more
Khoo Zi
Nov 06, 2016 Khoo Zi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dominique LaPierre’s City of Joy celebrates the resilience and courage of the slum dwellers as they struggle against the dire and inhumane conditions in the city of Calcutta. LaPierre shares a story of hope, humanism and joy in the marginalized community that is often shunned and despised by the upper tiers of society. This provides us a fresh perspective to the common misrepresentation of the poor as despondent and miserable individuals, but instead are admired for their strength and will power ...more
Lim Ying
Nov 10, 2016 Lim Ying rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dominique Lapierre vividly portrays the poverty, suffering, and destitution that is rife in the city. Yet in the midst of the sufferings, he celebrates the strength and unity of humanity.

Lapierre also shed light on the concept of community leadership as he wrote about Stephan Kovalski, a priest with the heart to serve the cause of the poor. Kolvaski managed to lead the poor because he gain their trust and respect with his sincerity to experience what the poor are experiencing, and to live with t
...more
Kim Godard
Mar 01, 2013 Kim Godard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is as eye-opening as a trip to another planet. And that is what the Calcutta of the story is: a place so far removed from the average American's experience that to go there would be life-changing. The resiliency and inner peace of its inhabitants are marvelous to behold as story after heart-wrenching story unfolds. The stark differences between first-world and third-world problems is almost incomprehensible, but my thanks for this book and the attempts of its author to make me fully ap ...more
Raghu
Sep 19, 2015 Raghu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me realize why I have two eyes! One, to cry with pain and grief for all those wretched and suffering on this earth, and the other, to cry with happiness and joy in how Life still sprouts and flourishes among all the pain, death and suffering! Though the flow in this book is very easy for anyone with decent knowledge of English to understand, one yet HAS to take break after every 10 or so pages, due the heavy impact the narrative has on the reader -- the heart becomes over-whelmed! ...more
Nandita Goswami
Aug 19, 2013 Nandita Goswami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read so far. Brings the reader face to face with the the people who lived in the Calcutta slums - their struggles , their pain , their joy and their magic. Dominique Lapierre writes a total unbiased account of the the people living in the new born independent India. His narrative transports you to the city of joy where people are the happiest ,despite living in the worst possible conditions. A learning lesson , indeed.
Claire
Mar 23, 2007 Claire rated it really liked it
It is a beautiful story of Calcutta. For anyone who knows me - there's a scene with a Nestle poster in a clinic which reads "Nestle will make your baby healthy" which resonated with me and highlighted the frustrations felt by the doctor working in the slums. But also a really nice story of family and hope.
Steel
Aug 12, 2007 Steel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bleeding Hearts
This book is the story of a Catholic priest who goes to live in Calcutta and decides to suffer along with the very poor. It's deliberately sentimental, heartwrenching, and written in a basic journalistic style. It was certainly an awakening, and was deeply motivating as well as being frequently very sad. A wonderful kind of crusader book with very clear heroes, villains, and saints.
Harendera Chauhan
Jun 27, 2013 Harendera Chauhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dominique has done the best to picture the situation of Calcutta of that time, The way he have displayed his characters to justify circumstances of poverty stricken people is amazing. He brought out the heart wrenching of human beings and their deeds in poverty.
Kristen Ringman
Jan 27, 2008 Kristen Ringman rated it it was amazing
Loved it - read it - then went to Calcutta where I got to ride past THIS ACTUAL PLACE in a bus after hugging the second largest Banyan tree in the world and - wow...powerful story and even more powerful city.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
LOVE 1 24 Jan 09, 2009 02:50PM  
  • Untouchables: My Family's Triumphant Journey Out of the Caste System in Modern India
  • Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba
  • Tanah Tabu
  • Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India
  • May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India
  • Or I'll Dress You in Mourning: The Story of El Cordobes and the New Spain He Stands For
  • Une vie française
  • Monsieur Malaussene (Malaussène, #4)
  • 'A9ama' Saya Adalah Jurnalisme
  • Tippi: My Book of Africa
  • Catatan Pinggir 3
  • Travelers' Tales India: True Stories
  • Un altro giro di giostra
  • Slowly Down the Ganges
  • Something Beautiful for God
  • Gifts of the Desert: The Forgotten Path of Christian Spirituality
  • La casta. Così i politici italiani sono diventati intoccabili
  • L'uomo medievale
35333
Dominique Lapierre was born in Châtelaillon-Plage, Charente-Maritime, France. At the age of thirteen, he travelled to America with his father who was a diplomat (Consul General of France). He attended the Jesuit school in New Orleans and became a paper boy for the New Orleans Item. He developed interests in travelling, writing and cars.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civili
...more
More about Dominique Lapierre...

Share This Book