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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (English)

(Hardcover)
★★★★★ ★★★★★
61
Hardcover
Author: Katherine Boo
Language: English
Publisher: PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (English) (Hardcover) Price: Rs. 349

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.

Specifications of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (English) (Hardcover)

Book Details
Publisher PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA
Award Year 2012
ISBN-10 0670086096
Publication Year 2012
Language English
Awards National Books Awards winner
ISBN-13 9780670086092
Binding Hardcover
Contributors
Author Katherine Boo

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Reviews of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (English) (Hardcover)

Recent top reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★

Saprovo Goswami

Sep 24, 2014

A nice read but nothing path breaking

This 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.
★★★★★
★★★★★

Tabir Mishra

May 20, 2014

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India Bashing

Want 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… (View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

Aniruddh Madhusudan

Mar 27, 2014

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Fantastic book - not grand or epic, but pertinent

With a nrrow clear focus, this book brings a slice of life in Mumbai most hardcore Mumbaikars are unfamiliar with.
★★★★★
★★★★★

Siddharth Samant

Jan 25, 2014

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Heartbreaking Beauty

As beautiful and heartbreaking as any book you'll ever read. A book that will stay with you, and will make you want to go back to page 1 the moment you have finished it.
The book reads like a novel, but it is not. It is a tremendous work of non-fiction, one which was made possible by years of ba…
(View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

A.P.

Jan 2, 2014

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Very Moving Book

Very Good Book. All Indians should read it. It is not just about a Mumbai slum, but can be about many an Indian place - a city slum or even poor villages, with minor differences.

Top reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★

Karamchand Ghote

Feb 19, 2012

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Prey

Katherine 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.

The book has gathered great reviews already. Joseph Lelyveld called it the "best piece of journalism to come out of India in the last fifty years". Shashi Tharoor and Jonathan Shinin, the editor of Caravan, have very high praise for it.

The lives of the children are blighted by the utter lack of prospects and their knowledge of it. That the stunted rag picker, Sunil, has a spurt of …
★★★★★
★★★★★

D.K.Rituraj

May 29, 2012

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Brilliant narration

I 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…
★★★★★
★★★★★

Deepa Moses

Mar 2, 2012

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Its not something Indians don't know about

This 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…
★★★★★
★★★★★

Akash Kothari

Mar 4, 2012

A common everyday story - in an uncommon way

Yes, 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.

Reading first few pages for me was just flipping through pages, nothing new, yeah I know we do best in attracting news about our poverty. I am sure any non-Indian would read these accounts with two eyes pooped out.

The beauty of the book catches on you once you know all the characters and then the book moves narrating the events of their life.

★★★★★
★★★★★

Ameya Chumbhale

Feb 13, 2012

First to review
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Fabulous work

A 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.
★★★★★
★★★★★

Tabir Mishra

May 20, 2014

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certified buyer

India Bashing

Want 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 …
★★★★★
★★★★★

Vishnu Anand

Apr 18, 2012

An emotional account of the 'black and white' city that is Mumbai

I 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.

The serpentine arrays of slum dwellings along the runway is usually distracting eyesore for most of us who fly in and out of Mumbai frequently. Maybe not anymore, if you choose to read this book.

Dissecting the lives, complex emotions, struggle for survival peppered with characters that entertain, anger and repel, the author has narrated a broader story -- the bigger picture of Mumbai - a city where the dark 'bl…
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yogesh Pandey

Feb 25, 2012

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If you know Mumbai

This 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.
★★★★★
★★★★★

Sachin Pisharody

Feb 8, 2013

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Slumdog revisted... pathetic though real potrayal of indian metro

Dear mrs. Boo,
Great to know that you decided to write a book about your stay in India. However real it may be, I am proud of my nation's metros and to be frank the book needn't be awarded just because it managed to humiliate a country's image, its way of living and the way the system runs here.
Inspired by you, I am planning to spend a decade in USA and write a book on the same aspects that you covered. I am hoping to get awarded for it too. Though i suppose a decade won't be necessary. 10 months? what say.:D
★★★★★
★★★★★

Saprovo Goswami

Sep 24, 2014

A nice read but nothing path breaking

This 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.
 

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