Book Club ~ Behind the Beautiful Forevers

  • May 20, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction
In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.


Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”
But then Abdul the garbage sorter 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. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.
With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget." - from http://www.behindthebeautifulforevers.com/about/

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Jennifer Nelson will be hosting this event, and here is what she has to say about this event:


I'm about halfway through already (it was suggested at the last book club meetup) and I absolutely love it. Life in a Mumbai slum is so different from anything I can even imagine that I soak up every word and try to imagine these people's lives. Also, this book won a Pulitzer Prize.

The address will be sent out the night before the event. I live near I-25 and Evans.

Bring a drink (alcoholic or non) OR a snack to share.

Caution: I DO own dogs. They will not be home during our meeting, and I will vacuum the day of the meetup, but I wanted to warn anybody who is allergic to dogs.

Please do not post spoilers on this page, and please be sure to show up - a last-minute cancellation steals somebody else's opportunity to come.

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  • Marita

    Gracious hostess, great discussion, delicious Indian snacks and wine, interesting friendly people!

    May 22, 2013

  • Daniel F.

    Lots of interesting and fun discussion.

    May 21, 2013

  • Jennifer N.

    I really enjoyed hosting tonight, thanks to everybody who came!

    1 · May 20, 2013

  • Jennifer Z

    Wow! I really enjoyed this book and the discussion! Thanks for hosting Jennifer Nelson, and thanks for suggesting it Marita!

    1 · May 20, 2013

  • Jennifer N.

    I can't believe I copy and pasted this: "Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction" halfway through the book and somehow didn't realize it was nonfiction until I finished the book and read the Author's Notes. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing/meeting everybody tomorrow night! I just sent out directions to everybody attending, so if you didn't get the email, let me know. See you all soon.

    May 19, 2013

    • Daniel F.

      Hi Jennifer, can you email me the directions? I was on the wait list and just RSVP'd. Thanks!

      May 19, 2013

    • Marita

      Me too! I just read the author's notes last night!

      May 20, 2013

  • Daniel F.

    Made it! OK, now gotta finish the book :)

    May 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Suggestion: Ken Follett "The Pillars of the Earth", A tale that transcends history and societal lore's, good and evil during the dark ages 12th Century in England. Follett is known for his Spy Thrillers, goes way beyond his genera of reads and wrote this Novel on human emotions, ambitions, violence, intrigue, bravery, revenge, action, dedication and love. An ambitious resourceful monk out to build the greatest Gothic cathedral in the world with the help of an architect of the times...

    check it out, one of those reads that is hard to put down... after a while you don't even realize that it is a 973 page novel. Years back I said that this should be made into a movie. We'll have to wait and see...

    April 21, 2013

    • Jennifer N.

      "The Pillars of the Earth" is one of my all-time favorite books; I read it once every year or two. It's a little long for a book club selection, but I'm up for it if others are. Also, HBO (or Showtime, I don't remember which) turned "The Pillars of the Earth" and its sort-of sequel, "World Without End" into pretty decent miniseries. They were 8 hours each and probably should have been at least 10, but they were pretty good.

      April 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Interesting. I actually worked in Andheri in Mumbai right where this novel takes place according to the description. I would actually pass under the bridge often and see the people living in and under the bridge support structures. Guess that's who this book is referring too...

    April 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Nope I'll be in Romania on this date...

      April 12, 2013

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