Behind the Beautiful Forevers | Granta

  • Published: 07/02/2013
  • ISBN: 9781846274510
  • 129x20mm
  • 288 pages

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Katherine Boo

Annawadi is a slum at the edge of Mumbai Airport, in the shadow of shining new luxury hotels. Its residents are garbage recyclers and construction workers, economic migrants, all of them living in the hope that a small part of India’s booming future will eventually be theirs. But when a crime rocks the slum community and global recession and terrorism shocks the city, tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy begin to turn brutal. As Boo gets to know those who dwell at Mumbai’s margins, she evokes an extraordinarily vivid and vigorous group of individuals flourishing against the odds amid the complications, corruptions and gross inequalities of the new India.

A triumph of a book. A beautiful account of the sorrows and joys, anxieties and stamina, in the lives of the precarious and powerless 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... 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 Thomson, Sunday Telegraph

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. She is married to Sunil Khilnani, political historian and director of the King’s India Institute in London. Behind the Beautiful Forevers (winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Non-Fiction) is her first book.

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Katherine Boo on Granta.com

Art & Photography | Granta 130

Annawadi

Katherine Boo

In 2007 Katherine Boo travelled to Annawadi – a slum built on Mumbai Airport land – to document the lives of the families living there.