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

In the shadow of Mumbai's airport and luxury hotels, the makeshift slum of Annawadi is home to the Husain family, whose business is the buying and selling of garbage and recyclables.  Their eldest son, Abdul, is a diligent, focused boy whose hard work has brought his family success in their trade but when he is accused of a vicious crime, their hopes of climbing the social ladder out of Annawadi are trampled.  Populated by fascinating characters and heartbreaking injustices, Behind the Beautiful Forevers gives the reader a window into the harsh realities of life in a squatter's slum.

“It seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but from the accidents and catastrophes they dodged.  A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught.”

Katherine Boo is an investigative journalist and a staff writer at The New Yorker.  Her work has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the MacArthur Fellowship, and the National Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Published:  2012
Length:  256 pages
Set in:  Mumbai, India