Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
By Katherine Boo
Genre: Narrative nonfiction
Publisher: Random House (First edition: 2012)
ISBN: 978-1400067558 (hardback); 1400067553 (hardback); 978-0812994186 (paperback); 9780812979329 (paperback)
This award-winning book vividly introduces readers to a community whose daily life gives human shape to a bewildering age of global change and inequality, telling the dramatic story of families striving for a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.
As India starts to prosper in the early years of the century, the Annawadi’s begin conceiving of a hopeful future for themselves. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" to be made by recycling garbage. Ambitious Asha sets her sights on the chance her beautiful daughter, known as Annawadi's "most-everything girl," will become its first female college graduate. Even the poorest children have started to believe their dreams might one day come true. Then Abdul is falsely accused of shocking crime; terror and global recession rock the city; and tensions over religion, caste, money, sex, and power, rise to the surface.
The product of years of uncompromising, insightful reporting, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, presents an overlooked, largely hidden world inhabited by unforgettable characters.
“A tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.” (Judges, PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award)
Winner of: The PEN Nonfiction Award, The National Book Award, The Los Angeles Book Prize, The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, The New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award.