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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum Paperback – 7 Feb 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846274516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846274510
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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'With her precise descriptions of relationships and the tragic lives of her characters, Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers reads like expertly crafted fiction' -- President Barack Obama, Wired

'A jaw-dropping achievement, an instant classic of narrative nonfiction...With a cinematic intensity... Boo transcends and subverts every cliche, cynical or earnest, that we harbor about Indian destitution and gazes directly into the hearts, hopes, and human promise of vibrant people whom you'll not soon forget.' -- Elle

'Riveting, fearlessly reported... [Behind the Beautiful Forevers] plays out like a swift, richly plotted novel. That's partly because Boo writes so damn well. 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. Grade: A.' -- Entertainment Weekly

'A tough-minded, inspiring, and irresistible book... Boo's extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as importantly, she makes us care.' -- People (four stars)

'Extraordinary. -- New York Times Book Review

'A shocking -and riveting- portrait of life in modern India... This is one stunning piece of narrative nonfiction... Boo's prose is electric.' -- O, Oprah Magazine

'Gripping... A brilliant novelistic narration.' -- Wall Street Journal

'Moving... A humane, powerful and insightful book... A book of nonfiction so stellar it puts most novels to shame.' --Boston Globe

'One of the most powerful indictments of economic inequality I've ever read. If Bollywood ever decides to do its own version of The Wire, this would be it.' -- Barbara Ehrenreich

'Behind the Beautiful Forevers is already a legend... It cannot be dismissed as yet another lazy excursion into slum poverty tourism, or as an outsider's account of India... Unforgettable.' -- Milanjana Roy, Business Standard

'It might surprise you how completely enjoyable this book is, as rich and beautifully written as a novel. In the hierarchy of long form reporting, Katherine Boo is right up there.' -- David Sedaris

'Kate Boo's reporting is a form of kinship. There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them. If we receive the fiery spirit from which it was written, it ought to change much more than that.' -- Adrian LeBlanc, author of Random Family

'Without question the best book thus written on contemporary India.' -- Ramachandra Guha, author India After Gandhi

'A triumph of a book. A beautiful account of the sorrows and joys, anxieties and stamina, in the lives of the precarious and opwerless in urban India... A brilliant book that simultaneously informs, agitates, angers, inspires and instigates.' -- Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics

'One's first reaction is disbelief followed by stunned silence... [This] takes us into the very engine room of the undercity and shines a light on each of the cogs and ratchets... Adamantine, unignorable, truthful.' -- Neel Mukherjee, The Times

'Magnificent, Boo does not flinch from addressing Mumbai's social inequalities, in particular the plight of its underclass... A masterpiece... Quite simply, one of the finest works on contemporary India yet written.' --Ian Thompson, Sunday Telegraph

'[An] exquisitely accomplished first book. Novelists dream of defining characters this swiftly and beautifully, but... 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' -- Janet Maslin, New York Times

'Presented as a story, but it turns out to be all true, as told to reporter Katherine Boo. It is a shocking description of the lives of residents of Annawadi, Mumbai, a slum by a sewage lake near the airport.' -- 'Readers best books of 2013', Guardian

'Deploying spare, unadorned prose, Boo throws the slum dwellers into such sharp relief that, reading the book, one has the sense of seeing them at first hand... By absenting herself, Boo endows her writing with an uncomfortable immediacy.' --Nikhil Kumar, Independent on Sunday

'My favourite non-fiction book about the subcontinent, but one that reads like a soap opera. The tragedies, loves, disappointments and joys of the slum-dwellers of Mumbai are brought thrillingly to life by the author, who lived among them for two years. A testimony to brute survival and the human spirit.' -- Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, selects for Week magazine

'Deserved every ounce of praise heaped upon.' --'Readers best books of 2013', Guardian

About the Author

Katherine Boo is an investigative journalist focusing on matters of poverty and opportunity. A staff writer at the New Yorker magazine since 2001, she was previously a writer and editor at the Washington Post. Among the honours her work has received are a MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Grant, a National Magazine Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. This is her first book.

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