Made into a movie starring Patrick Swayze, this is the inspiring story of an American doctor who experienced a spiritual rebirth in an impoverished section of Calcutta.
What irony that one of Calcutta's most devastating slums should be known as Anand Nagar, ``the City of Joy.'' By interweaving impressionistic glimpses from the lives of a French priest, a rickshaw driver, and an American doctor, Lapierre creates a searing vision of the struggle for survival, the flashing violence, and the social and cultural practices of the slum. His theme that from human misery can emerge joy might seem to some readers as a bogus acceptance of a terrible evil. Yet Lapierre's narrative slides skillfully in and out of both history and fiction to create an effective but horrible montage of disease, death, and destruction amid elements of charity, hope, and love. The City of Joy should elicit strong reactions from readers. BOMC and Quality Paperback Book Club alternates. John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant