Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Large Print / Paperback)

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This book made it to several Best Of lists for 2012, so it was worth a look. It's a chronicle of a few years in the lives of the inhabitants of a slum community near the Mumbai airport, written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who embedded herself in the Annawadi slum, taping, making videos, taking notes about the daily lives of this poverty-stricken community. Anyone who has visited the big cities of India has to wonder, like Boo, how the poorest people of those cities exist. At one point she notes that that the only ways to be successful in such circumstances are to find an entrepreneurial niche, to become adept at politics and corruption, or to get an education. She writes about those who succeed and those who fail. It is a fascinating book because of the depth of her research. I think, however, that she felt that depth gave her license to write as if she were in the minds of the people she wrote about, and I found myself flinching at what I took to be her assumptions about how these people thought. Though it reads like a novel, it's more like a Breughel painting with vivid descriptions of a lot of different individuals, so I found myself skipping around, reading about certain people and not very interested in others.It's definitely worth reading.

— Alice


From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities.
In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter--Annawadi's "most-everything girl"--will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call "the full enjoy."
But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.
With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers "carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

About the Author

Katherine Boo is a staff writer at "The New Yorker" and a former reporter and editor for "The""Washington Post." Her reporting has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur "Genius" grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. For the last decade, she has divided her time between the United States and India. This is her first book.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781594136184
ISBN-10: 1594136181
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Large Print Press
Publication Date: February 26th, 2013
Pages: 419
Language: English