Arnab Das's Reviews > Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
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's review
Mar 10, 2012

liked it
Read from February 26 to March 11, 2012

To be fair, the tale itself is a bit cliched. Haven't we heard enough about the "Slumdogs" (for want of a better word. Not meant in a derogatory sense here) already? I guess, one could argue that Katherine Boo wanted to cash in on the India's poverty. But that would be too vile a statement to come up with.

Anyway, there is much truth in the conclusions she draws. India's corruption is a big problem. And so is India's poverty. Unfortunately well meaning citizens of the country have little to do about it and can't wish it away. In the 21st century these remain one of the biggest hurdles in India's path to modernisation. The narration is beautiful, almost poetic in places. The title itself is a testament to the miseries of the slum dwellers in India, which most relatively better off Indians, helplessly perhaps, choose to ignore.

There isn't much of a plot here and to be honest, the latter part of the book does get a bit boring. I found the Author's Note in the final chapter to be refreshingly insightful. In conclusion, this book might win awards, but if originality is your cup of tea, its better to look elsewhere.

[The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga deals with the same subjects but in a subtler yet more alarming way. Readers who want to read more on India and it's darker side, should probably get hold of that book.]

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