Behind the Beautiful Forevers
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • USA Today • New York • The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New Yorker • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • The Boston Globe • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Foreign Policy • The Seattle Times • The Nation • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Denver Post • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Salon • The Plain Dealer • The Week • Kansas City Star • Slate • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, And Hope In A Mumbai UndercityUser Review - Mayde Robertson - Goodreads
All I can say is wow. This true story is both poignant and eye opening. Very well written it portrays a real sense of what it is to live in the slums of India. I feel like it did not over romanticize ... Read full review
Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, And Hope In A Mumbai UndercityUser Review - Deirdre Bauer - Goodreads
Not sure that I ever got to the hope part of this book. None of the people in this narrative non-fiction escape the shackles of poverty like in Slum Dog Millionaire, nor are you left with hope that ... Read full review
part ose undercitizens 1 Annawadi
part two the business of burning 5 Ghost House
The Hole She Called a Window
A School a Hospital
Other editions - View all
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Limited preview - 2014