Behind the Beautiful Forevers
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Sub title: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Author: Katherine Boo

"Annawadi is a slum in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as the Indian economy booms, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective teenager, sees ‘a fortune beyond counting’ in the recyclable garbage that the city’s richer people throw away. He is so fast, sorting waste, that he’s close to lifting his whole family out of the slum. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, is eyeing an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck and the right connections, her sensitive, beautiful teenaged daughter might soon become the first female college graduate in the slum. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a homeless 15-year-old scrap-metal thief, feel themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call ‘the full enjoy.’
But then Abdul the teenaged garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; a terrorist attack and a global recession rock Mumbai; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest human hopes intersect with the harshest realities of life in an Indian megacity, the true contours of a desperately competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the resilience and ingenuity of the people of Annawadi.
In Katherine Boo’s fast-paced and riveting book—beautifully written, rigorously researched and intimately reported—the impact of poverty, inequality, corruption and global change is made human through breathtaking, sometimes heartbreaking, stories that will stay with you forever. "

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Book Reviews

‘A triumph …. A beautiful account, told through real life stories, of the sorrows and joys, anxieties and stamina, in the lives of the precarious and powerless in urban India whom a booming country has failed to absorb and integrate. A brilliant book that simultaneously informs, agitates, angers, inspires and instigates.’—Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics

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Published by

Penguin Books India


16 Feb 2012


Hamish Hamilton



Book Format





Indian Subcontinent only


Non-Fiction, City





Price (Rs.)


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