Her plausible rebuttal had me wondering what its Hindi or Marathi original might have been. I even called the company. And this, in turn, produces a paradoxical masterfulness; we see that it isn't information or research that Boo is bringing to us, but a quality of attention. It's certainly refreshing to see so … Behind the Beautiful Forevers is the story of life in Annawadi, a slum situated close to Mumbai Airport. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum by Katherine Boo – review This American view of a Mumbai slum is impressive Amit Chaudhuri. Covent Garden Odeon, London March 12, 2015. While it started on a promising note and held my attention until about the halfway mark, I could sense a growing disappointment with both style and substance. I had read that this book was well-written and would probably win some awards, which is why I picked it up. Behind the Beautiful Forever’s Review. All those poor little rich kids. It's all right for Spark's schoolgirl Sandy, a native of Edinburgh, to feel estranged when she's in a little-visited part of the city; but Boo, an American, must give the impression of complete familiarity in a Mumbai slum. Refresh and try again. Shall I strip naked and dance for you now?'" To see what your friends thought of this book, This book is not easy to read, let me be clear. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity at Amazon.com. Yes, I am glad I listened to it. Faces that I’ll see as I go to bed this morning, for time just passed as I immersed myself in this book. The Emilia Romagna Region and Its 3 Famous P's - Prosciutto, Parmigiano and Pavarotti! But I had to ask myself who had what to gain by it. The corruption Boo details, corruption so deeply embedded at all levels of Indian society, is almost unbearable to read about but this information is shared without judgment and revealed, particularly for the residents of the Mumbai slum where Boo was embedded, as the only potential way out, however dim that potential might be. This is one compelling read, and the truly stunning thing about it is that it is all true. This is her first book, in which she chronicles several years (from late 2007 to early 2011) in the lives of select families living in a slum near the Mumbai International Airport. I had three days to spend in Mumbai this February, and, reading my Lonely Planet guidebook, I considered undertaking a "slum tour." I wanted concrete suggestions from the author. Order Essay. ", See all 11 questions about Behind the Beautiful Forevers…, New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2012 (fiction and nonfiction), Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. I'd seen the slums from the air, as we d. It's too easy to criticize this book. The breaking of the old floor by Abdul and his brother frays Fatima's nerves: '"You're all hammering too loud! I've not read a ton of narrative nonfiction, but Katherine Boo's account of the Annawadi slum in Mumbai and the people who inhabit it makes for a thrilling and moving audiobook. The milkman won’t be delivering the daily liter of milk; his house was razed by the local municipality. An Introduction Katherine Boo’s first book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”, points of interest the lives of the nationals of Annawadi, a little slum in Mumbai, India. Docudrama meets quality soap opera in David Hare’s latest truth commission. That's partly because Boo writes so damn well. November 10, 2020. This is her first book, in which she chronicles several years (from late 2007 to early 2011). She worries that, as a foreigner, she lacks the "immersion" a native would have in their milieu; but maybe natives become disengaged, while outsiders inhabit their chosen spaces more fully. That’s the first thing I did after finishing reading it, and for quite a long time. Such people live in the world beyond the slum, a world at which Boo gestures but deliberately refuses to explore, and whose hoardings make Annawadi invisible to "drivers approaching the [airport] terminal from the other direction... [who] would see only a concrete wall covered with ... ads ... for Italianate floor tiles, and the corporate slogan [that] ran the wall's length: BEAUTIFUL FOREVER BEAUTIFUL FOREVER BEAUTIFUL FOREVER.". by Katherine Boo (Random House, 2012) I get it - life in a Mumbai sluim is brutish but the writing style tries too hard to shock and quickly left. Rambling: A scene from Behind the Beautiful Forevers . Behind the Beautiful Forevers feels like a mixture of a challenging film documentary and a superior TV soap with a good story line, which may not be what you’d expect to hear about the latest play by David Hare, one of the UK National Theatre’s star playwrights. She learned to report at the alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of The Washington Monthly magazine. To get the latest news, reviews, interviews, new show alerts and ticket offers, sign up to our weekly newsletter Thus, the authors of such publications try to attract the attention of the global society to their problems. Behind the Beautiful Forevers review – a triumph for David Hare and Meera Syal. February 10, 2012. Read in: 4 minutes. By Shashi Tharoor. I KEPT ON ASKING HOW THIS COULD NOT BE FICTION. I'd seen the slums from the air, as we descended into Mumbai airport. 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. So instead of me telling you what the book is about (there's a synopsis) or acting like an expert on poverty (which I am n, I've not read a ton of narrative nonfiction, but Katherine Boo's account of the Annawadi slum in Mumbai and the people who inhabit it makes for a thrilling and moving audiobook. From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. Among the poor, there was no doubt that instability fostered ingenuity, but over time the lack of a link between effort and result could become debilitating. Despair of this sprawling epic. Review. I was raised in great poverty, and have a first-hand understanding of its effects. A review of the 2012 book Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo in which she talks about life and dreams in a Mumbai Slum. I read through practically in one gulp, hardly coming up for air. "'Tell me, bastard. Wow! 10,915 reviews. Words are exchanged, then insults, in public; this relatively minor occurrence of fractiousness leads to life-changing decisions. Futile visits to the local political corporator and pleading to a rigid money-lender for a loan is what his weekly schedule looks like. Behind a wall emblazoned with an ad for tiles that will be “beautiful forever”, about 3,000 people live in 335 huts out of site from users of the modern airport and its luxury hotels. I saw specials on TV, which showed beautiful new apartment complexes. --Yet--I waited long enough! Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Stare straight. Yes, we have gross inequalities in our own society, but I doubt anything can touch what you will read in these pages. It's National Book Lovers Day! I listened to the audiobook narrated perfectly by Sunil Malhorta. Katherine Boo spent years reporting in the airport settlement of Annawadi, and the book unfolds like a novel. You simply cannot walk away untouched. I can't hear my radio!"' Though this book is set in a Mumbai slum, it could be about nearly any place in the Third World. I didn’t know what I was looking at, or more aptly, looking for – of course, there was this wall ahead, 3 feet ahead – but I wasn’t looking at it; I was looking for ‘faces’; faces that I’ve imagined floating between my eyes and the pages of the book while I was reading it; faces that don’t resemble anyone I know, but faces that might resemble closely with the people living right now, even as I write this and you read this, in Mumbai. 1-Sentence-Summary:Behind The Beautiful Foreverswill make you more grateful for what you have, look for ways to tear down corruption in the world, and help the poor by sharing the experiences of people living in the Annawadi slum in India. In a Flaubertian irony, Manju studies Congreve's The Way of the World, a sleazy tale about "first-class people", without fully comprehending the text. For the last decade, she has divided her time between the United States and India, the birthplace of her husband, Sunil Khilnani. Flannery O' Connor's constricted universes, full of grotesques and buoyant improvisers, come to mind; Boo has the same concentrated vision, but more empathy. After the crisis, the lives of her subjects begin to unravel and the writing becomes more essayistic. The substance also left me dissatisfied. Good Minds Suggest—Katherine Boo's Favorite Books About Inequality. The author herself narrates the afterword which explains the author's methodology. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo Katherine Boo should be an honorary Peace Corps Volunteer. Her own absence from the encounters with her biographees, the complete and unflagging access to their thoughts and speech, the decision to adopt the novelistic approach – perhaps these, and not the depressing nature of writing about a microcosm of abject poverty within a booming India, are the greatest risks Boo takes. The depressing sequence of events is laid out starkly but the explantion of motives is not always convincing. But it's also because over the course of three years in India she got extraordinary access to the lives and minds of the Annawadi slum, a settlement nestled jarringly close to a shiny international airport and a row of luxury hotels. The reason why I say so is the way author has put across the irony of our existences is quite shatterr, This book is not easy to read, let me be clear. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, a. Katherine (Kate) J. Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post. For most of us, an image or a vignette would be enough to. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011. Sadly, the rich vs poor scenario has existed for thousands of years and can be found everywhere in th. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is the story of Abdul (and about a hundred other residents -- try keeping all of them straight) and his life in Annawadi, an illegal settlement of trash, sewage and corruption outside the Mumbai airport. Behind the Beautiful Forevers paints a vivid picture of the corrupted slums of Annawadi. The book describes a present-day slum of Mumbai, India, named … Personally, I suspect ALL unequal society eventually impload - they are just replaced with another slightly less unequal society until that replacement imploads...and so on. What is also striking is seeing how the people Boo writes about have hope in circumstances, that from the outside, seem so wholly hopeless, so impossible to overcome. of examples of governments that dissolve under the weight of their own corruption - severe inequality being a big part of that. Behind The Beautiful Forevers is a commendable attempt to dramatize a topical non-fiction story on a grand, Dickensian scale. Extreme poverty usually strips "civilized" behavior from individuals and groups. I was raised in great poverty, and have a first-hand understanding of its effects. I had three days to spend in Mumbai this February, and, reading my Lonely Planet guidebook, I considered undertaking a "slum tour." Mirchi was impatiently awaiting his best friend, Rahul, a Hindu boy who lived a few huts away, and who had become an Annawadi celebrity. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. The reportage is thorough and passionate and careful and what it does best is reveal both the simplicity and complexity of absolute poverty. "Every country has its myths," she says, "and one that successful Indians liked to indulge was a romance of instability and adaptation – the idea that India's rapid rise derived in part from the chaotic unpredictability of daily life." The crisis of the book, where Fatima immolates herself to implicate her neighbour Zehrunisa's son Abdul, an absurd act of vengeance that goes badly wrong, is recounted at the beginning. But I had to ask myself who had what to gain by it. Behind the Beautiful Forevers (with Katherine Boo and Meera Syal) Hare has adapted decisively, skilfully cutting a swath of narrative from a myriad competing tales. • Amit Chaudhuri's Calcutta: Two Years in the City will be published next year. None of the strategies employed for betterment by these people – the use of your natural gifts in your given environment (Abdul); insinuating yourself into a incorrigibly corrupt status quo of policemen and politicians (Asha); education (Manju) – really work. Friends recommended that I listen to that first, which I did, but I listened to it again after completing the book. Poverty without hope destroys humanity. This American view of a Mumbai slum is impressive, Slum life … 'Boo's intelligence keeps her tale from losing its grounding in reality.' According to Lonely Planet, there was a company that did it right, a "sensitive" tour. The family of six has to do with a makeshift shanty to prevent them from drowning in the dense showers of late night rains. However, I reckon shifting the spa-medic detoxification an hour later could comfortably ease the tea-garden brunch. Her first book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity" was published in 2012. In spite of their loss of dreams and position, I was impressed by the resilience of most. An Indian man I met had also recommended it. So let me first say that Katherine Boo is an excellent writer and a dedicated observer. I first listened to an abridged version of this book and was intrigued. Wow! This is how Asha, an ambitious woman who has set her sights on being slumlord in Annawadi, a large slum close to Sahar International Airport in Mumbai, replies to men who'd take advantage of her for her "large breasts and her small, drunken husband". So much of the book echoed with what I know about the slums of Port au Prince, for example. Friends recommended that I listen to that first, which I did, but I listened to it again after completing the book. Am I the only victim of such suffering? And I couldn't go through with it because it was a question I couldn't answer. She's a worker for the Shiv Sena, the extreme rightwing Marathi chauvinist party, and nurses small-scale political ambitions that she believes will lead to her becoming, one day, slumlord. When resources are scarce to non-existent, humans generally resort to whatever means necessary to ensure their survival. For most of us, an image or a vignette would be enough to make us feel a bit of pity and turn away. Selfishness (for oneself or one's family) is often the only thing standing between survival and death. I would suggest that you buy the book without comparing it with any of your previous reads! Book review: ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers,’ by Katherine Boo. Troublesome as it is for a detour to the supermarket for packaged milk, my domestic help decided to cal. So instead of me telling you what the book is about (there's a synopsis) or acting like an expert on poverty (which I am not), I'll offer a list. February 7th 2012 My question is actually one the author herself asked in the Author's Note; on page 248, she queries "After all, there are more poor people than rich people in the world's Mumbais. Another voyeuristic tour of Slumbai, another rap … This is an astonishing book. “Much of what was said did not matter, and that much of what mattered could not be said.”, “What you don't want is always going to be with you, http://www.behindthebeautifulforevers.com/, Pulitzer Prize Nominee for General Nonfiction (2013), National Book Award for Nonfiction (2012), PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction (2013), Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism (2013), Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest (2012), Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee for Nonfiction (2013), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for General Nonfiction (2012), NAIBA Book of the Year for Nonfiction (2012), Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction Nominee (2012), Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Nonfiction (2013), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2012). Asha's daughter, Manju, is probably the most idealistic person in Annawadi, an undergraduate who helps run her mother's school (a side-business), and for whom a university degree in English and teacher training comprise the chosen route out of the slum into the realm of "first-class people". So much of the book echoed with what I know about the slums of Port au Prince, for example. Somehow, seeing pictures of it doesn't lessen the shock of seeing it in real life, the row on row of monochromatic dun-coloured ragged shacks ringing Mumbai's glitziest highrise hotels. For this, her first book, Boo, a Pulitzer prize-winning staff writer on the New Yorker, spent much of her life between November 2007 and March 2011 in Annawadi, documenting events with "written notes, video recordings, audiotapes and photographs". A much hyped book - I had heard and read a lot about it including high praise from some usually trusty sources. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published When resources are scarce to non-existent, humans generally resort to whatever means necessary to ensure their survival. While the book deconstructs this romance, Boo is concerned not only with the crisis and its aftermath, but with the period before Annawadi will be destroyed by the airport authorities. The writing, here, comes sharply alive; the madness of these scenes (a drunk man with TB helping Abdul with the work, falling from the weight of a stone he has to lift) shows Boo at her most economical – horror and comedy become inextricable. Based on the best-selling book by Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a dynamic, vibrant depiction of the dark side of India's rapid economic success. A much hyped book - I had heard and read a lot about it including high praise from some usually trusty sources. ... Why don't more of our unequal societies implode? It’s been a distressful morning. Katherine (Kate) J. Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post. It is here that I wanted a bit more from the book. We’d love your help. I didn’t know what I was looking at, or more aptly, looking for – of course, there was this wall ahead, 3 feet ahead – but I wasn’t looking at it; I was looking for ‘faces’; faces that I’ve imagined floating between my eyes and the pages of the book while I was reading it; faces that don’t resemble anyone I know, but faces that might resemble closely with the people living right now, even a. Stare. How is it that a book about the poorest, most exploited, ignored, trodden upon people didn't evoke more feeling or sustain more engagement? The shadow of a mighty passenger jet flies low over the Olivier stalls, the nearness of its deafening roar making the scalp tighten. Tssk tssk. The story focuses, principally, on three families. Since she doesn't know any Indian languages, she had translators throughout, one of whom must have helped her understand the sort of rejoinder that Asha made to Robert, ex-slumlord and one of her tormentors. I read through practically in one gulp, hardly coming up for air. Among the works on this subject is the book entitled Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, which focuses on the life of the residents of Mumbai, namely the poorest of them, who are forced to live in the slums. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Boo took home the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2012 for this novel about the injustice and cyclical nature of poverty in India, so I imagine it is rather well read by my fellow Goodreadians. Reviews. I wish I had a happy answer. Boo won me over when she presented the impoverished people of Annawadi as individuals with worries, ambitions and desires as everyday as yours or mine rather than victims. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a magnificent achievement, one that could not happen in the Commercial Theatre sector. The contrast between the economic “haves” and “have nots” is so blatant here. The author is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has covered social inequalities in the past. I was reminded that, though Boo was a foreigner in Annawadi, she is no foreigner to the poor, and has written much about the American poor as a journalist; the echoes of O'Connor confirm what Boo points out later, that there are revealing overlaps between the world's deprived areas. The author is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has covered social inequalities in the past. Troublesome as it is for a detour to the supermarket for packaged milk, my domestic help decided to call it a day as it is the last day to confirm her receipt for a governmental pension of her deceased alcoholic husband. This book leaves you feeling devastated. What value could there be learning any more about their miserable lives? I found myself brokenhearted by the recurrent police and governmental corruption they must wade through in order to just exist. This is an amazing story about families who live and work in a Mumbai slum. For middle-class people like me who grew up in Bombay, forays into slums were infrequent. What does she suggest be done to improve the situation? Bethany Schumacher, 128 TCCS. by Random House, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Dear Lord! Very good question. I started this book yesterday -- finished it this morning. In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of … The family of six has to do with a makeshift shanty to prevent them from drowning in the dense showers of late night rains. I am absolutely amazed at the way she was able to get into the hearts and minds of those she studied. It has also been adapted into a play by David Hare in 2014, shown on National Theatre Live in 2015. The author herself narrates the afterword which explains the author's methodology. Zehrunisa is impatient to put the money her family saved to use: a new window in the hut to "let out the cooking smoke", new tiles on the floor. While a novel might be a clear starting point for such a transformation, David Hare’s new play Behind the Beautiful Forevers instead bases its script on Katherine Boo’s vast work of non-fiction that documents a panorama of poverty and corruption in the slums neighbouring Mumbai airport. She gradually renounces the novelistic mode partly because she realises that, unlike the novelist, she can't possess her characters, not least because many of them – in particular, a constellation of children – end up dead; as a narrator, she must share with the residents of Annawadi the loss of control, of mastery, this entails. A former professor of mine once related to me a story of the time he escorted Brazilian educator and activist Paulo Freire, author of, Stare. Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai UndercityKatherine BooHamish Hamilton 254 pagesRs499 At first, the stories, characters and situations will seem familiar, almost stereotypical. Saturday 02 June 2012 17:13. It's a fascinating look at how the underclass tries to survive and get ahead in a 21st-century economy. What a wretched day it is!! I am an Indian National and a lot of this is already heard of, and still the insight is profoundly beautiful along with a courageous display of hopes. Mercifully, my chauffeur seems to have escaped from any such problematic liabilities. Yes, I am glad I listened to it. Opened Nov. 18, 2014. This is one compelling read, and the truly stunning thing about it is that it is all true. I was suspicious, at first, of this familiarity, her meticulous scene-setting, her blurring the line between interviewees and "characters" in a story. This is much scarier than any STEPHEN KING novel. The second time, having completed the book, you can better judge the author's conclusions. This work, winner of the 2012’s National Book Award and written by Pulitzer winner Katherine Boo, is the result of three years she spent in Annawadi, a slum in Mumbai, India. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity is a non-fiction book written by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo in 2012. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Katherine Boo. I found it disjointed and strangely unaffecting for most of its length, and even boring some of the time. Reviewed Nov. 18, 2014. As Katherine Boo states in her Author's Note, This book leaves you feeling devastated. This book is quite an achievement. Behind The Beautiful Forevers tickets are not currently available. For a long time and four months Boo chronicled the ordinary battles of a few people unlawfully squatting inside the cramped quarters possessed by the Mumbai Airport Authority. One sensed the goings-on and exchanges inside them as one would a foreign world, without completely understanding what was being said, in spite of (unlike Boo) knowing the language. [Behind the Beautiful Forevers] plays out like a swift, richly plotted novel. Boo has worked hard to amass her facts and get them right. His tardiness has got me a bit worried on missing my blow-dry appointment. Can anyone compare it with The City of Joy? It is precisely what the National Theatre is for. There's a lot to say about this book and a lot to think about. There are 100s (thousands?) Like the imperial monuments of the past, the airport always exists in the background, a crushing symbol. 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