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Tags:read in 2012, non-fiction, india

Work details

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

2012 (33) 2013 (23) 21st century (10) Bombay (11) book club (10) corruption (33) ebook (14) family (8) fiction (11) garbage (9) history (9) India (241) journalism (19) Kindle (20) library (8) Mumbai (81) narrative nonfiction (14) non-fiction (230) politics (13) poverty (115) read (14) read in 2012 (20) read in 2013 (14) slum (11) slums (46) sociology (20) to-read (83) unread (8) urban poor (10) wishlist (12)
  1. 30
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: A classic story, also set in Mumbai/Bombay, but covering some very similar territory.
  2. 20
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (one-horse.library)
  3. 10
    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
    The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India by Siddhartha Deb (one-horse.library)
  6. 00
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (one-horse.library)
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English (173)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
Too depressing, and after consultation with others in group, decided to stop reading.
  Lisa02476 | Apr 12, 2014 |
TLC book club; Jounalist reporting on what it�s like living in a slum near the airport in India ( )
  nancynova | Mar 30, 2014 |
Long ago when I read A Fine Balance I said I would never read another completely depressing book about financial and political oppression in India, yet I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers which is every bit as depressing and every bit as wonderful. To make matters worse, Katherine Boo says the people and situations are all real. I can see why people think that oppressed groups aren't quite human, don't feel things as deeply as the rest of us do. We can't understand how we could ever continue to live in such situations, though suicide rates among the impoverished show they feel the same way. I don't see how she could stand the research, but it's a book well worth reading. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Mar 6, 2014 |
Absolutely deserving of the Pulitzer for nonfiction. Unforgettable. This book will blow you away, leave your mind reeling and your heart exploded. I kept thinking, "this can't be." Out of the ~400 nonfiction books I've read this decade, this is top ten by any measure. You are a human on the same planet with these folks, and that is almost not to be believed or borne. ( )
1 vote johnpdeever | Feb 6, 2014 |
This is a Pulitzer prizewinning work of non fiction, yet it is as engrossing as a historical novel. This is a must read for anyone interested in the plight of the poor in emerging nations. The author effectively portrays how two very different economies can exist side by side and the symbiotic relationship between the two. This is a story of extreme poverty and desperation, but somehow its characters manage to survive and on a certain level, actually thrive. ( )
1 vote Betty.Ann.Beam | Jan 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (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.
 
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For two Sunils
and what they've taught me about not giving up
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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. . . .
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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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