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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Feb 7 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (Feb. 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781400067558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400067558
  • ASIN: 1400067553
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zack Gross on April 11 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is for the person who wants to understand why abjectly poor people live (and die too young) in a modern, globalized world that should be able to deliver education and health for all. It was hard to put down and now I'm recommending it to others. Boo brings the subject of justice and poverty alive by making a non-fiction book read like a novel. Her characters, mostly youth living, working and trying to survive in a Mumbai, India slum, are unforgettable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 20 2012
Format: Hardcover
Story Description:

Random House Publishing Group|February 7, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4000-6755-8

From the Pulitzer Prize-winner, Katherine Book, 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, see "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Aha, 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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 5 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Boo's story brings to life, the statistics and numbers that regale our magazines and newspapers about the grim existence of the India slum dweller. Unlike the movie, 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers' is not a story of impossible hope but one of incredible humanity. Ms. Boo provides us with insight into the daily travails of those who must eek out an existence by finding and sorting garbage, exploiting the largess of the Indian government and NGOs, and the temporary work provided by hotels and construction sites. The Annawadi slums are located next to the international airport in Mumbai. Around this mass of people living in shacks with little running water and few public toilets, stand luxury hotels servicing international travellers who pay little attention to the people they can see from their cars and taxis and hotel rooms. Abdul, a boy of seventeen or eighteen years of age, supports his mother, his alcoholic father and their many children by purchasing recyclables that he then transports by auto rickshaw for sale. His dedication and hard work have made him the envy of his Hindu neighbours who despise his Moslem ancestory. The neighbour, in a fit of envy and anger, pours kerosene on herself, and sets it on fire causing serious burns to much of her body. She blames Abdul, his sister and father for driving her to this act of desperation. The three must now face trial. Somehow, Ms. Boo through her vast collection of interviews and videotape, is able to share the inner feelings and thoughts of these people as the drama unfolds. I had to google the web just for reassurance that the book was, in fact, non-fiction. I've rarely read a book with so much to say about what it means to be human.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alia on April 5 2012
Format: Audio CD
I love Katherine Boo's writing. It's magnificent and I've always liked her work in The New Yorker. There is nothing condescending about her toward Mumbai's slum in Annawadi. But I just can't get over how ridiculously grim the people's lives are. It's a reality, but it's unbearable to read. In the end I stopped caring for any of the characters because they are all fated to misery.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Touching story about true life in one of the slums of India ..hard to read but fascinating ..what with having been there in February.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's an eye-opener. But do I really need to know this?
It is a view of the hard hard world we live in. It's not new in India. I saw some of it in 1975.
I hope the Indian economy takes off and brings some relief to everyone.
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By Searching on June 17 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone who is concerned about what is going on in the developing world, and enjoys great writing. I had to remind myself it wasn't fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a book about the morality of poverty as expressed by the slum dwellers and those in power over them. If only there were answers to the issues highlighted.
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