Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Life, Death, and Hope in A Mumbai Undercity

Boo, Katherine

Audiobook CD - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Annawadi is a settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are filled with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees 3a fortune beyond counting4 in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal.

Publisher: New York : Books on Tape/Random House, 2012
ISBN: 9780307934055
Branch Call Number: CD 305.569 B
Characteristics: 7 sound discs (8 hr., 16 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Malhotra, Sunil


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Apr 09, 2014
  • brookchambers rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A beautifully written book that vividly depicts life in a Mumbai slum. I would definitely recommend the audiobook- the narrator is excellent and the author speaks at the end about her incredible experience in researching for the book.

Dec 03, 2013
  • 22950004980520 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I listened to the audiobook and the reader is very, very good. This is beautifully written. However, it was so sad at times that I had to take several breaks during the narration.

May 06, 2013

This is a sobering read about poverty and humanity in Annawadi, a slum in Mumbai. This book is part of the required reading in many Johnson County Community College Composition classes. Sunil Malhotra does an excellent job narrating this audiobook.

Mar 18, 2013
  • mogie rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

A very good book. I think it would have been better to read than listen to as an audiobook

Jun 01, 2012
  • christyspencer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A painful but accurate portrayal of slum-life. This book is an excellent window into the culture, reality and needs of the people. She makes no attempt to provide solutions, sway the audience or romanticize anything. Her epilogue is insightful and I appreciate her integrity in careful and unbiased research.

Apr 15, 2012
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This nonfiction book is a tale of the lives of the residents of a Mumbai slum, Annawadi, located near the Mumbai airport and near luxury hotels. Boo was inspired to tell about life in the slums after marrying a man from India. She picked Annawadi because of its size, one small enough to go around and talk to all the residents. Her research took three years and the lives of many of the residents change significantly during that time. We see the struggle to survive, the daily living conditions, the jealousies and rivalries, the corruption both between residents and at police and government levels. Money equals prosperity and everyone is trying to get ahead, and get a better life. Some use substances that help them escape from their lives, and some take it out on their families. Boo spends a lot of time here describing two families.
One is a Muslim family, where the father has health issues that force the oldest boy, Abdul into the role of family provider. The situation also forces the mother into a less subservient role that is typical of Muslim women. The family recycles garbage, paying other garbage collectors by weight for their gatherings. When a fight with a neighbour women results in drastic actions by the women, the family's creep upward is stalled and reversed.
The other Hindi family also has a strong women at the head, Asha. Asha sets her sights on politics, with the first step gaining the status of slumlord for Annawadi. She curries favors, accepts and pays bribes, settles disputes and makes enough to send her daughter to college.
An ongoing story that brings the existence of the lowest class in India to light and shows how the system doesn't work for them, and how they are viewed by those above.
Fascinating and heartrending.


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Jun 01, 2012
  • christyspencer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

christyspencer thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Boo, Katherine
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