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

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees a fortune beyond counting in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadis most-everything girl, might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first centurys hidden worldsand into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

Winner of the National Book Award | The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award | The Los Angeles Times Book Prize | The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award | The New York Public Librarys Helen Bernstein Book Award

The New York Times The Washington Post O: The Oprah Magazine USA Today New York The Miami Herald San Francisco Chronicle Newsday

The New Yorker People Entertainment Weekly The Wall Street Journal The Boston Globe The Economist Financial Times Newsweek/The Daily Beast Foreign Policy The Seattle Times The Nation St. Louis Post-Dispatch The Denver Post Minneapolis Star Tribune Salon The Plain Dealer The Week Kansas City Star SlateTime Out New York Publishers Weekly


A book of extraordinary intelligence [and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking.Junot Diaz, The New York Times Book Review

Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.New York

This book is both a tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.Judges Citation for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award

[A] landmark book.The Wall Street Journal

A triumph of a book.Amartya Sen

There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them.Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction . . . [Katherine] Boos prose is electric.O: The Oprah Magazine

Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boos extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as important, she makes us care.People
Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2012: Katherine Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbais International Airport. From within this sumpy plug of slum Boo unearths stories both tragic and poignant--about residents efforts to raise families, earn a living, or simply survive. These unforgettable characters all nurture far-fetched dreams of a better life. As one boy tells his brother: Everything around us is roses. And were like the s**t in between. A New Yorker writer and recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Genius grant, Boos writing is superb and the depth and courage of her reporting from this hidden world is astonishing. At times, its hard to believe this is nonfiction. --Neal Thompson

(as of 12/31/1999 8:00 PM EST - details)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity at Amazon