Behind the Beautiful Forevers

behind the beautiful forevers cover image Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Katherine Boo
General Nonfiction
Random House
Hardcover, 288 pages

Katherine Boo spent three years on the ground in a Mumbai slum reporting on life in one of the most destitute places in the world. The result is the 2012 National Book Award for non-fiction. Boo enters so deeply into the culture of Annawadi and, at the same time, remains so far in the background herself that one might easily mistake this for a work of fiction. As it is, Boo, who writes for The New Yorker magazine, develops each 'character,' relationship and event with empathy and respect despite the desperate circumstances where they play out. The "beautiful forevers" is, in fact, a barrier between the slum and the airport road with its high-rise luxury hotels. The story of what goes on behind it is moving and engaging as well as deeply troubling.