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

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

Format:  Hardcover,

256 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Feb 2012

ISBN-13: 9781400067558

ISBN-10: 1400067553

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
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, Annawadi's "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 century's hidden worlds--and 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 & Letters Award in Literature - The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
"The New York Times - The Washington Post - O: The Oprah Magazine - USA Today - New York - The Miami Herald - San Francisco Chronicle - Newsday"
" "
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
"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 - "Slate" - Time Out New York - Publishers Weekly"
" "
"NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER
"A book of extraordinary intelligence and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking."--Junot Diaz, "The New York Times Book Review"
" "
"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] Boo's prose is electric.""--O: The Oprah Magazine"
" "
"Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boo's 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"
" "
"A jaw-dropping achievement, an instant classic.""--Elle"

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Feb 2012
ISBN-13: 9781400067558
ISBN-10: 1400067553
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.3
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.3
Walmart No.: 9781400067558

Chapter outline

Prologue: between roses
undercitizens
Annawadi
Asha
Sunil
Manju
the business of burning
Ghost House
The Hole She Called a Window
The Come-Apart
The Master
a little wildness
. Marquee Effect
Parrots, Caught and Sold
Proper Sleep
up and out
Nine Nights of Dance
Something Shining
The Trial
Ice
Black and White
A School, a Hospital, a Cricket Field
Author's Note
Acknowledgments

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2012-02-15)

This is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Boo's (The New Yorker) first book. She takes a look at the stark lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a slum across from Mumbai's Sahar Airport, to reveal the wrenching inequality and urban poverty still endemic in India's democracy. Using recorded and videotaped conversations, interviews, documents, and the assistance of interlocutors, Boo profiles the lives of some of the slum dwellers from November 2007 to March 2011. There is Abdul, a young adult scavenger with a profitable trade in recyclables.

The one-legged Fatima's home is divided from Abdul's by merely a sheet. Readers follow the treacherous paths of these and other lives. A fateful chain of events leads to a criminal case against Abdul and his family. Boo presents glimpses of the corrupt police who feed on those without political power or education. She claims she witnessed most of the events described in the book.

Verdict: A tour de force, this book is powerful yet far from harrowing. Highly recommended for all collections.

[See Prepub Alert, 8/21/11.] - Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL

(c). Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, 2012 (United Kingdom)
  • American Library Association Notable Books, 2013 (United States)
  • National Book Critics Circle Awards, 2012 (United States)
  • Pulitzer Prize, 2013 (United States)
  • National Book Awards, 2012 (United States)
  • Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, 2012 (United States)
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2012 (United States)
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, 2012 (United States)

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