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Author Dominique Lapierre no more: Some poignant books he wrote in his lifetime

Born on July 30, 1931, the French author had an attachment to India, which was reflected in his book 'City of Joy'

Dominique Lapierre, Dominique Lapierre no more, Dominique Lapierre death, Dominique Lapierre books, Dominique Lapierre death reactions, indian express newsAuthor Dominique Lapierre

Author Dominique Lapierre, who wrote books like ‘Freedom at Midnight‘, ‘City of Joy‘, and ‘Beyond Love‘ among others, passed away at the age of 91 on December 4, 2022. AFP quoted his wife Dominique Conchon-Lapierre as saying, “At 91, he died of old age… at peace and serene, since Dominique is no longer suffering.”

Born on July 30, 1931, the French author had an attachment to India, which was reflected in his book City of Joy which narrates the hardships of a rickshaw puller in Kolkata. It became a movie in 1992 starring Patrick Swayze, directed by Roland Joffe.

Photo: Amazon.in

Lapierre is said to have donated half the royalties he earned from the book to several humanitarian projects in Kolkata, like refuge centres for people with leprosy and children afflicted with polio, for dispensaries and schools, rehabilitation centres and for sanitation. In fact, after the release of this book, Kolkata even came to be known as the ‘city of joy’ and continues to be addressed as such.

Born in Chatelaillon, Lapierre — in collaboration with American writer Larry Collins — wrote many bestsellers and sold millions of copies. While City of Joy is set in the slum of Anand Nagar — based on the area of Pilkhana in Howrah, West Bengal — Freedom at Midnight, as the name suggests, is based on the events surrounding India’s independence and the Partition. It narrates the end of British Raj, and culminates with the death and funeral of Mahatma Gandhi.

Photo: Amazon.in

His book ‘Five past Midnight in Bhopal‘ is based on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that claimed many lives. Part of the book’s royalties funded a clinic in Bhopal that treated victims for free; the author also helped fund a primary school in one of the settlements described in the book.

Photo: Amazon.in

While ‘Is Paris Burning?‘ is the story of the liberation of Paris in the Second World War, ‘Is New York Burning?‘ is based three years after the 9/11 attacks, wherein terrorists have hidden an atomic bomb in the heart of the city, and time is ticking.

Photo: Amazon.in Photo: Amazon.in

A rainbow in the night‘ narrates South Africa’s “tragic history” and the many men and women — white and black, European and African — who made the country what it is today, a ‘Rainbow Nation’.

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Beyond Love‘ is the story of the fight against the AIDS virus, told through the lives of doctors, nurses and scientists working desperately to achieve this goal. His other works included ‘Or I’ll Dress You in Mourning‘, ‘O Jerusalem‘, ‘The Fifth Horseman‘ to name a few.

Photo: Amazon.in

Lapierre was awarded the Padma Bhushan — India’s third highest civilian award — in 2008.

Here are some reactions to the news of his demise:

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First published on: 05-12-2022 at 15:29 IST
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