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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

  • Aug 23, 2014 · 3:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

By Katherine Boo
Rated 3.98 on Goodreads
262 pages


From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

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.

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  • marina g.

    I am planning to come

    August 17, 2014

  • Diane P.

    Hello all,
    I won't be able to join you this month. Enjoy!!
    Best,
    Diane

    August 14, 2014

  • Brooks S.

    Thanks Kristen. I have signed up for the 23rd.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kristen

    Yes, we discussed changing the date for August to the 23rd. I have updated the meeting details.

    July 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Based on our agreement last Saturday to change our Aug book club date to Aug 23, I went ahead and made other plans for Aug 16 th. Can we please leave the revised date of Aug 23 as we agreed?

    July 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    We did change to the 23rd as a few could not make the 16th. Kristen are you updating or did you change your mind?

    July 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Kristen, I'd be glad to lead the discussion, if we stick with the original August 16 date.

    July 23, 2014

  • Brooks S.

    Did we change the date of August meeting to August 23?

    July 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Book sale this weekend at the Sunnyvale library. Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Members only shopping starts at 9 a.m. Sundays, Noon - 3 p.m.
    $5 Books by the Bag sale all day July 19-20, 2014
    September 20-21, 2014
    November 15-16, 2014 All upcoming sales will be held in the Library Program Room at the Sunnyvale Public Library.

    July 17, 2014

  • Brooks S.

    I will be in Canada that week. I may miss September too depending on the date. I will be at the July meeting.

    June 28, 2014

9 went

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