heatherfromthegrove’s non-fiction spotlight for today: “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo

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Monday, July 22 – Saturday, July 27


 @ heatherfromthegrove!

Enjoy some good summer reading.

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“It seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but from the accidents and catastrophes they dodged. A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught.” 
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

From the moment we are introduced to the intelligent and resourceful Muslim teenager, Abdul, living in the slum settlement of Annawadi, we are drawn into an underground world that is as tragic and heart-wrenching as it is humorous and hopeful.  The characters are so vivid and their stories so compelling that one has to remind oneself that this is not a tale of fiction.  This beautifully crafted piece of narrative non-fiction is the end product of three intense years of reporting by master journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo.

The gripping stories of the families, surviving in a makeshift settlement near the Mumbai airport,  make us cry, wince and laugh. Living just a stone’s throw away from  luxury hotels filled with wealthy patrons, we feel their distress and anger as they battle the inequalities of class and caste.  In the dawn of a newly prosperous India, the stark contrast of the abject poverty with the neighboring wealth is a constant (and harsh) reminder that not all things (or people) are created equal. Fuelled by  hope and tenacity, the people of Annawadi strive for a better life,  despite the challenges and roadblocks that intercept them at every turn.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is an unforgettable book and probably one of the best I’ve read in a while.