Start reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available
 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum [Kindle Edition]

Katherine Boo
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £6.00 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £3.99 (40%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of £3.99 after you buy the Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £6.00  
Library Binding £18.65  
Paperback £6.99  
Audio Download, Unabridged £0.00 Free with Audible trial
Audio, CD, Audiobook £6.20  
Multimedia CD --  
Book Awards
An Award-Nominated Book
From the Man Booker to the Pulitzer Price, check out the full selection of award nominees and winners in Book Awards.

Book Description

Annawadi is built on garbage dumps at the edge of Mumbai Airport, in the shadow of shining new luxury hotels. Its residents are scavengers, construction workers and economic migrants, all of them living in squalor in the hope that a small part of India's booming future will eventually be theirs. But when a murder rocks the slum community and global recession shocks the city, suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy begin to turn brutal. As Boo gets to know those who dwell at Mumbai's margins, she evokes an extraordinarily vivid and vigorous group of individuals flourishing against the odds amid the complications, corruptions and gross inequalities of the new India.


Product Description

Review

A bravura work of non-fiction that goes beyond clichéd, patronising depictions of poverty to raise uncomfortable questions about justice and opportunity for India s urban poor in the age of global market capitalism ... Thanks to the transcendent quality of Boo s prose, this sumpy plug of slum springs to life with all the drama and vividness of great fiction ... Boo s great achievement is to have overcome barriers of language, culture and ethnicity to get inside the minds of her subjects to decode their innermost thoughts. And because she has written about the everyday experiences of real people, using real names, we get to rub our noses in the dirt of Annawadi, see the world through their eyes --Financial Times

Katherine Boo has prised open the world of people on the lowest echelon of Indian society ... The picture that emerges of the exploitation of the weak by the less weak is so astonishing in its detail, crosshatching and depth that one s first reaction is disbelief followed by stunned silence ... Boo takes us into the very engine room of the undercity and shines a light on each of the cogs and ratchets, its unique catenation of cause and effect, its dynamics and webbed dependencies ... Before prescription there should be knowledge: Boo s book provides the adamantine, unignorable, truthful kind. And yet all this never descends into horrorism. Boo is unsentimental, unjudgmental, uncondescending, yet brimful of compassion brought by what I can only call fellowship or a kind of commonality with her subjects --The Times

An extraordinary, intimate and gripping book, which it is no exaggeration to describe as a milestone in writing about poverty, and already one of this year s most memorable reads ... Boo s seamlessly structured narrative allows these stories to unfold alongside the personal dramas of the characters. Her tone is admirably restrained, and never patronising or mawkish ... The close focus of Behind the Beautiful Forevers is what gives it its clarity, and makes it so affecting -- --Evening Standard

--Evening Standard

Katherine Boo has prised open the world of people on the lowest echelon of Indian society ... The picture that emerges of the exploitation of the weak by the less weak is so astonishing in its detail, crosshatching and depth that one s first reaction is disbelief followed by stunned silence ... Boo takes us into the very engine room of the undercity and shines a light on each of the cogs and ratchets, its unique catenation of cause and effect, its dynamics and webbed dependencies ... Before prescription there should be knowledge: Boo s book provides the adamantine, unignorable, truthful kind. And yet all this never descends into horrorism. Boo is unsentimental, unjudgmental, uncondescending, yet brimful of compassion brought by what I can only call fellowship or a kind of commonality with her subjects --The Times

An extraordinary, intimate and gripping book, which it is no exaggeration to describe as a milestone in writing about poverty, and already one of this year s most memorable reads ... Boo s seamlessly structured narrative allows these stories to unfold alongside the personal dramas of the characters. Her tone is admirably restrained, and never patronising or mawkish ... The close focus of Behind the Beautiful Forevers is what gives it its clarity, and makes it so affecting --Evening Standard

Review

“Must read. Katherine Boo “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”. A Mumbai slum understood and imagined as never before in language of intense beauty.” (Salman Rushdie)

“The even-handedness that stems from Katherine Boo’s natural and abundant empathy is one of the many appeals of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, her gorgeous book on one of Mumbai’s slums, Annawadi…The book contains a particularly important message for those who have monopolised the ear of the Indian government’s key leaders, and who place their hopes for the poor in financial handouts and empowerment through legal rights.” (Business Standard)

“The words of Boo and the inhabitants of Annawadi rushed through me like a river, cracking open thoughts of how hard this work is, my anger at those who demand simple solutions and expect easy returns; yet, at the sametime, pushing me more urgently to find voice, to speak truth when it hurts. For all of this, I am grateful to the author for her courage, persistence, and openness.” (The Huffington Post)

“Riveting…[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction; it not only reports on some of the world’s poorest people and their dizzying resourcefulness and criminality but portrays them in all their humanity.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)

“[An] exquisitely accomplished first book. Novelists dream of defining characters this swiftly and beautifully, but Ms. Boo is not a novelist. She is one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama. She makes it very easy to forget that this book is the work of a reporter. …. Comparison to Dickens is not unwarranted.” (The New York Times)

“The book plays out like a swift, richly plotted novel….Boo gives even the broadest themes (the collateral damage of globalization, say) a human face. And there are half a dozen characters here so indelible — so swept up in impossible dreams and schemes — that they call Dickens and Austen to mind.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“This is an astonishing book. It is astonishing on several levels: as a worm’s-eye view of the “undercity” of one of the world’s largest metropolises; as an intensely reported, deeply felt account of the lives, hopes and fears of people traditionally excluded from literate narratives; as a story that truly hasn’t been told before, at least not about India and not by a foreigner. But most of all, it is astonishing that it exists at all…. a searing account, in effective and racy prose, that reads like a thrilling novel but packs a punch Sinclair Lewis might have envied.” (The Washington Post)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400067553
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (23 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00794SUDE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not much hope, but maybe just enough 22 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must confess I picked this book up with some trepidation. The subtitle - "Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum" - and the cover (of my copy), a young boy sprinting up steps into bright sunlight, made me think it might be another of those. You know, those. The post-Slumdog reportage. "Yes, conditions in Indian slums are appalling. But wait! Look at the way the children run and play! The sights, the smells! The way they can still laugh, in the face of such hardship. The way they just get on with the life they've got!" (What else are they supposed to do?) "So life-affirming!"
The hope of it all!
"Slumdog" is a good film. And a lot of the reportage is also good, and if it's not it's generally well-meaning. But I find it all a bit discomfiting. It's human to believe in hope, but it seems to me that, as Westerners, focussing on the small hopes that slum-dwellers have might be a convenient way of deflecting our own guilt that people have to live this way. (And the likes of Amitabh Bachchan castigating "Slumdog" for focussing on a small part of Indian life might be an Indian way of doing the same thing).
I thought this book might be more of the same. It wasn't.
Boo is no polemicist. She's a true journalist, and she tells this story with a journalistic dispassion, making it all the more affecting. (She has a novelist's eye, though; at times, the prose is breathtaking.) The stories are set in a small slum, rather than one of the giant cities-within-a-city like Dharavi; a wise choice, as she manages to paint a picture of a whole community, almost like a small village. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, and at times it's downright confusing. But even this makes sense. After all, urban India is a confusing place, teeming with people.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, eye-opening and yet depressing.... 24 Mar. 2012
By DF
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I work in IT in a large corporation and like many others we have moved a significant proportion of our software development to India. I have visited a few times over the last few years and have been impressed by the individuals I have worked with there. However, what I also noticed as I was driven between hotels, offices and the airport was a the widespread poverty and slums, particularly in Mumbai. Thus, when I read a review of this book in The Economist, I was very keen to learn more.

First of all the quality and style of the writing is second to none. The book is written in excellent, flowing prose and reads like a good novel. It is captivating and at times amusing. I got through it in about four sittings - as I found it hard to put it down. However, it also covers a topic that is both eye-opening and depressing. The corruption, the apparent hopelessness, the low value given to live are all quite sad to read.

If you're curious to learn more about the poor in Mumbai, then you should read this book. Maybe you should read it anyway? Katherine Boo deserves more prizes for this book and the work and research that went into it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great analysis of a Mumbai shanty town. 12 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not sociology, nor is it psychology. But Katherine Boo gives a telling and unsentimental analysis of how people manage to survive in situations when they have so few options. There are no angels here, nor are there villains. People with so little learn to give and rely on the support of others, although often they also have to tread on their neighbours toes merely to get by. The writer treats these conflicts and crises with respect. No value judgements. Just beautiful writing.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real insight into India 16 April 2012
By Frank
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is news reporting at its most readable and insightful; it reads like a novel, yet you are assured at the end that all the events recounted are real, as are all the names. How important is it to understand the lives and problems of an Indian slum? I can't answer that; but I can say I have more hope of having an accurate perspective of those problems after reading this book. And despite those problems, its still a good read!

Frank Drake
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is the first book from Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Katherine Boo, a staff writer at "The New Yorker," and former reporter and editor at "The Washington Post." It is a narrative nonfiction that tells the story of several families that live in Annawadi, a small makeshift slum located between the fancy new airport and luxury hotels, and a public toilet and sewage lagoon, in Mumbai (formerly, and better-known as Bombay), a dynamic and fast-growing Indian city.

It is based upon three years of onsite reporting, the author says. "From the day in November 2007 that I wandered into Annawadi until March 2011 when I completed my recording, I documented the experiences of residents with written notes, video recordings, audiotapes and photographs. Several children of the slum, having mastered my Flip video camera, also documented events recounted in this book. I also used more than 3,000 public records, many of them obtained after years of petitioning government agencies under the landmark Right to Information Act."

As India starts to prosper, and wealthier Indians begin to return home from their diaspora around the world, further deepening the gulch of inequality between the city's rich and poor, residents of Annawadi are hopeful. Abdul, a hard-working Muslim teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of high intelligence, deeply scarred from a childhood in rural poverty, believes she has found another route to the middle class: political corruption. She hopes that, with a little man-made luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter Manju, Annawadi's "most-everything girl"will soon become its first female college graduate.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing. Real life documentary that reads as a
Absolutely amazing.Real life documentary that reads as a novel
Published 17 days ago by Mrs Betty W Richards
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting insight
Published 18 days ago by Kath White
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book, really well written.
Published 23 days ago by KeithD
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as engaging as fiction
A vivid account of life in a Mumbai slum at the foot of a developing new airport.
The research has been intensive by an author who has a professional skill
as a reporter. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bertha Barlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A real insight to slum life in India.
Published 1 month ago by Judi Stockwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the most moving books I have read. Makes me want to go to Mumbai
Published 1 month ago by jill alexander
4.0 out of 5 stars enlightening
Very descriptive. Painted a realistic picture . A little too wordy at times. Would happily read another of Katherine e Boo's books
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Penny Richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and moving account of life in a Mumbai shanty town
The people that Katherine Boo interviewed were poor beyond the comprehension of us in the west. Even those who were above subsistence levels couldn't protect their babies from rat... Read more
Published 2 months ago by GeordieReader
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
Depressing , I understand that life in reality is hard, and that there isn't always a happy ending, but this book tells of one miserable thing after another , I didn't even feel... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. A. Altinsoy
5.0 out of 5 stars authentic storytelling
Enjoyable and moving story which will resonate with anyone who has visited Mumbai and seen or met the slum dwellers.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category