The City of Joy was written by Dominique Lapierre. The title refers to Calcutta, a very poor city that is full of disease, vermin, and filth. The story is based on real interviews and the experiences of the author, not simply historical analysis, which make the novel a truly accurate representation of the characters, setting, and events in real life. It is a story about hospitality, courage, and hope in a city that has no shortage of despair, misery, and poverty.
Calcutta literally has millions of residents packed into a tiny area. Living conditions are terrible. There are no public toilets, no trash collection, and no systematic extermination of pests. The city is in ruin, but Hasari and his family have basically no choice but to move to Calcutta.
In the novel, Hasari Pal, a Bengali peasant farmer, and his family must move away from their land due to unsuccessful harvests and growing debts that prevent them from living comfortably. Millions of Bengali peasants found themselves in a similar situation during the second half of the twentieth century. They all became quite desperate to survive. Hasari and his family, hoping for a better future, go to Calcutta as exiles. Hasari and his family endure challenging experiences in Calcutta, of course, and Hasari becomes a rickshaw puller shortly after arriving there to provide food for his family. The occupation is not exactly what Hasari dreamed of doing for a living, but he definitely does what he must do to ensure that his family survives.