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Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity is a non-fictional account of the Annawadi slum of Mumbai, India. It has been authored by Katherine Boo and has won the National Book Award.
Summary Of The Book
Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity is an interesting, detailed account of the Annawadi slum of Mumbai. Annawadi is a slum in Mumbai built on land belonging to the Mumbai Airport. Boo offers a deep insight into the lives and daily tribulations of the inhabitants of the Annawadi slum in her book. The book is not a work of fiction and hence, offers a realistic view on the residents of the densely populated slum.
Katherine Boo lived in Annawadi for three years while she did research for her book. The characters she writes about in the book are real and so are their everyday issues, struggles and conflicts. The book focuses primarily on three families of Annawadi. Young Abdul, who is a garbage collector, and his family consisting of his parents and two siblings, Fatima, his neighbor, and Asha who works for the Shiv Sena, are the three families who the book is centered on.
The story begins with Fatima setting herself on fire out of vengeance. The events leading up to her immolation are left unexplained in the beginning and the book progresses giving a detailed account of the life at Annawadi. Boo builds up the story and the characters as she narrates the difficult yet intriguing life in Annawadi, until the story reaches the point where Fatima attempts to immolate herself. The lives of the characters become clearer after this point in the book and Boo begins to give an informed and educated insight into the dreams, hopes and fears of the residents of this illegal slum in Mumbai.
Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity is a very realistic account of the lives of the slum dwellers of Annawadi. The book has been widely read and received critical acclaim for its unflinching description of the reality of the slum dwellers in India. The book was awarded the National Book Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
About Katherine Boo
Katherine Boo is a journalist and author.
Katherine Boo was born on August 12, 1964. She grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University. She has won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Columbia Journalism Award, the National Book Award and the MacArthur Fellowship for her excellent work. Her husband, Sunil Khilnani, is a professor of politics and the Director of the India Institute at King's College. She has written several articles and has received awards for exceptional work in her field. She has also written articles for The New Yorker. The Marriage Cure won her the National Magazine Award. She also wrote After Welfare, another article for The New Yorker and won the 2002 Sidney Hillman Award for it.
|Publisher||PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA|
|Awards||National Books Awards winner|
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Apr 28, 2015
Sep 24, 2014
A nice read but nothing path breaking
May 20, 2014
Mar 27, 2014
Fantastic book - not grand or epic, but pertinent
Jan 25, 2014
Feb 19, 2012
PreyKatherine Boo's first book "Beyond the Beautiful Forever" rises beyond journalism as it follows the life of a group of youngsters for a while in a slum called Annawadi near Mumbai's Sahar airport.
May 29, 2012
Brilliant narrationI agree. The unfortunate story of deprivation and poverty surrounding the luxury enjoyed by a few in India is an ubiquitous truth every Indian is aware of. What is uncommon is the way in which the narrative has been structured. It does not focus on the poverty or the deprivation. It gives respect to the individual. In a land overflooded with billions, an individual's story is often tramped over in favour of a collective, especially if the individual belongs to cattle class. But kudos to Boo's brilliance, her narrative has brought about the pathos of the individual into focus while describing a… (Expand)
Mar 2, 2012
Its not something Indians don't know aboutThis is the true narrative of people in a Mumbai slum called Annawadi. While this may be something new or shocking from a westerner's point of view, I think every Indian knows this story. We hear it in our everyday news reports, we see it in the daily lives of lesser privileged people around us. I guess the motive of this book is to make people sensitive to the issue of poverty and the cycle of corruption and greed, but like I said its not that we Indians are not aware of the issue, its just that we turn a blind eye and do nothing about it. And in that respect I think this book will only serve… (Expand)
Mar 4, 2012
A common everyday story - in an uncommon wayYes, this is not something the everyday Indian does not know about, Reading about the lives of the characters portrayed in the book, won`t excite you at all, won`t make you look up to them because you see this people everyday.
Feb 13, 2012
Fabulous workA great piece of work backed by thorough research, great language and the necessary sensitivity. Nowhere in the book the author tries to sensationalize the topic or characters. Wonderful non-fiction work coupled with fabulous narration.
May 20, 2014
India BashingWant an award? It's easy. Describe the slums of India in graphic detail - including the number of dead animals that have contributed to the filth, put in some amount of corruption, a few warped love stories - there you have it! A sparkling new award. Hats off to the work Katherine has done, but for an Indian, the book does not merit an award by any stretch of imagination. It seems more like a rehash of Slumdog Millionaire, without the protagonist ever becoming a millionaire. It has all the grimness and dirt of Arundhati Roy's 'The God of Small Things'. Highly disappointed that Mr. Bill … (Expand)
Apr 18, 2012
An emotional account of the 'black and white' city that is MumbaiI picked up this book at the Mumbai airport bookstore and read the first couple of chapters at the platinum lounge waiting for a delayed flight. The irony began here.
Feb 25, 2012
If you know MumbaiThis book does give an non-mumbaikar a much better view of what happens in the financial hub of the country. Good insights but at times becomes repetitive to an extent one is wondering if we are reading some people's short essays of depressions and voyeuristic views or is it a story about triumph over adversity. Well neither are expected with a reader left to keep visualizing oneself in the setting. My only suggestion to all buyers of this book is to tread it with some caution while it does have a great literary content.
Apr 28, 2015
Too depressingWell thats the reality anyway but the author does a great job of putting the depression and the pathos into words, so much so that we can visualize the stomach churning details right in front of our eyes.
Sep 24, 2014
A nice read but nothing path breakingThis is a good book but will appeal more to foreigners than Indians who have seen all kinds of life. Specially the middle class will find nothing new. But a good effort.