Thursday, May 9, 2013

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity is narrative nonfiction that's as compelling as a novel. The large cast of characters are all real people, respectfully portrayed. Journalist Katherine Boo spent four years interacting with the residents of Annawadi, a small slum adjacent to the Mumbai International Airport and surrounded by luxury hotels. A brief video clip of the place can be seen online in this book trailer.

At my Two Bichons book group last night, we talked about this heartbreaking work. A couple of members found it too depressing to get all the way through, but the rest of us were riveted by the lives of these people. Gowda's The Secret Daughteralso set in a Mumbai slum, is a book our group discussed two years ago. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is infinitely superior.

I recommend the Random House audiobook narrated by Sunil Malhotra.

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