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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death,…
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (edition 2012)

by Katherine Boo

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,5942252,306 (4.08)1 / 381
Member:jpyvr
Title:Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Authors:Katherine Boo
Info:Random House (2012) Kindle Edition
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Kindle, Nonfiction, Journalism, India, Prizewinners

Work details

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

  1. 50
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: A classic story, also set in Mumbai/Bombay, but covering some very similar territory.
  2. 50
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (TomWaitsTables)
  3. 20
    Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Another journalistic-novelistic account of lives in Bombay, but more wide ranging across classes and by a native.
  4. 10
    Libertad by Alma Fullerton (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: Although a children's title, this book follows the story of two boys whose lives revolve around salvaging cardboard and other waste in a Guatemalan dump. When their mother is buried in the refuse, they make a trek north to find their father, supposedly in the Southern U.S. border states. Their lives have a considerable amount in common with the Husain family's.… (more)
  5. 00
    Planet of Slums by Mike Davis (Nickelini)
  6. 00
    The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time by Bob Harris (srdr)
    srdr: Engaging stories of how microfinance loans via the internet can change the lives of the working poor worldwide.
  7. 00
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (TomWaitsTables)
  8. 00
    The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India by Siddhartha Deb (TomWaitsTables)
  9. 00
    Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both authors have spent a long time with a community of the very poor and have produced sympathetic and very insightful books about how the "underclass" see, and manage their interactions with, the rest of society.
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English (230)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  English (232)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
Maybe there is something wrong with me but I wasn't horrified by this book. I was more amazed and sometimes even amused by the amazing resilience and resourcefulness of the characters, especially the women. They are simply unforgettable.

I was deeply troubled by the corruption of the government, of course, and the way the various nationalist parties exploited the religious differences of the slum community. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
In general, I do have a thing for books about India, so maybe I'm not quite impartial. But I thought this book was amazing -- brilliantly written and researched, thought-provoking, and as much of a page-turner as a suspense novel. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Shocking look at the vast corruption in the country of India. Interestingly, the author never related the poverty issue to the historically cultural condition of the caste system deeply rooted in the Indian tradition. At the same time, after reading this book, I am thinking how corrupt our system may be as it relates to addressing the problem of poverty in America...even worldwide. ( )
  readyreader | Nov 3, 2016 |
Interesting and thorough recounting of life in a Mumbai slum. Perhaps too many characters--difficult to keep the threads of all the different stories and names. Nevertheless, the book creates a vivid picture of the ingenuity of India's poorest citizens and their ceaseless adaptations and inventions in their attempts to survive, and hopes for prosperity. I am also reading Rudyard Kipling's Kim, so the contrast between the Englishman's recollection of growing up in Britain's India and the reality of today is particularly striking to me. ( )
  kishields | Jun 19, 2016 |
A heartbreaking book of almost unfathomable poverty in a slum in Mumbai India - it's amazing that the author, a western woman, was able to become almost invisible over time, and could therefore report on the experiences, relationships and emotions of the inhabitants - it was easy to become immersed in the world she exposed - yet the pain of being there in the midst of the garbage and false hopes and toppled trust, the lies and corruption, the deaths of young people who were doing their best, was sometimes overwhelming -

Katherine Boo did an exceptional job with this book - she showed great care and compassion for the people she reported on - the afterward gave more info about how she wrote the book and the extensive research that went into it. ( )
  njinthesun | Jun 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
Boo, in letting go of her story, in dwelling with it relatively briefly in her book's 250 pages (in contrast to the years she spent with the slum-dwellers), allows it to resonate with us as a small classic of contemporary writing.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katherine Booprimary authorall editionscalculated
Malhotra, SunilReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For two Sunils
and what they've taught me about not giving up
First words
Midnight was closing in, the one-legged woman was grievously burned, and the Mumbai police were coming for Abdul and his father.
Quotations
“Instead, powerless individuals blamed other powerless individuals for what they lacked. Sometimes they tried to destroy one another. Sometimes, like Fatima, they destroyed themselves in the process.”
She was damaged, and acknowledged it freely. She was illiterate--acknowledged that, too. But when others spoke of her fury as an ignorant, animal thing, that was bukwaas, utter nonsense. Much of her outrage derived from a belated recognition that she was as human as anyone else.
. . . He still found it strange to think of her as dead, because at Annawadi he hadn't considered her fully alive. Like many of his neighbors, he had assessed her damage, physical and emotional, and casually assigned her to a lesser plane of existence. . . .
In the West, and among some in the Indian elite, this word, "corruption", had purely negative connotations; it was seen as blocking India's modern, global ambitions. But for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and a India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a teenager who sorts and sells recyclable airport garbage, believes that he's on the verge of lifting his family of eleven out of poverty. Asha, a mother of three, is determined to make her sensitive teenage daughter, Manju, the first female college graduate in Annawadi. Meanwhile, even the poorest among them, like Kalu, a homeless, fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, feel themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call the "Full Enjoy." But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terrorism and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the true contours of an unequal, desperately competitive market city are revealed, so too are the resilience and ingenuity of the people of Annawadi. (978-1-4000-6755-8)
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Profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother, and a young scrap metal thief, illuminating how their efforts to build better lives are challenged by religious, caste, and economic tensions.… (more)

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