Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Boo)

Book Reviews
[An] exquisitely accomplished first book. Novelists dream of defining characters this swiftly and beautifully, but Ms. Boo is not a novelist. She is one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama. She makes it very easy to forget that this book is the work of a reporter.... Comparison to Dickens is not unwarranted.”
Janet Maslin - New York Times

A jaw-dropping achievement, an instant classic of narrative nonfiction.... With a cinematic intensity...Boo transcends and subverts every cliché, cynical or earnest, that we harbor about Indian destitution and gazes directly into the hearts, hopes, and human promise of vibrant people whom you’ll not soon forget.

Riveting, fearlessly reported.... [Beautiful Forevers] plays out like a swift, richly plotted novel. That's partly because Boo writes so damn well. But it's also because over the course of three years in India she got extraordinary access to the lives and minds of the Annawadi slum, a settlement nestled jarringly close to a shiny international airport and a row of luxury hotels. Grade: A.
Entertainment Weekly

A tough-minded, inspiring, and irresistible book.... Boo's extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as importantly, she makes us care. (Four stars.)

A shocking—and riveting—portrait of life in modern India.... This is one stunning piece of narrative nonfiction.... Boo’s prose is electric.
O, The Oprah Magazine

You'll know Boo from her work at the Washington Post and now as staff writer for The New Yorker, which has brought her any number of honors, including the MacArthur "genius" award. Her writing is marked by a persuasive sense of humanity, never more than in this study of the hopeful and go-getting inhabitants of the slums surrounding the luxury hotels at the Mumbai airport. Teenaged Abdul aims to better his family with finds from the trash rich tourists have discarded, for instance, while Asha works to make her promising daughter the slum's first female college graduate. Of course, abuse, envy, and political and religious tensions turn up as well. Comparisons to Slumdog Millionaire are inevitable, but this would also match up nicely with fiction from Aravind Adiga (e.g., The White Tiger). For all informed readers
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