Newport Librarians'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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Aug 03, 12

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There's a new genre in town - narrative non-fiction - where an essentially non-fiction work is told in a "you-are-there" style that is compelling. Such is Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Katherine Boo. This is the heart-wrenching story of Annawadi - a settlement (read slum) located next to the Mumbai (India) airport.

Abdul, our main character, is a young boy who makes his living (and keeps his family in food and shelter) by sorting through and selling garbage. The "beautiful forevers" are a series of billboards surrounding the airport in an attempt to hide the slum from visitors. Annawadi is "behind" these signs.

In a recent interview, Katherine Boo said she thought her book was a hopeful one - even though there seems little hope that the Annawadis of India (or elsewhere) will ever disappear. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is required reading for anyone who would like to begin to understand the nature of poverty and third world cultures. Highly recommended.
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