47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Behind the beautiful forevers there is HOPE,
This review is from: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Hardcover)
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Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity is great. I have not read a book as well written as this is in more than twenty years. Her use of language reminds me of my favorite fiction authors; however this is a work of narrative nonfiction. It feels like good fiction book yet the characters are real people and she used their names. I am reminded of the great works of Saul Bellow, William Shakespeare, Papa Hemingway, Mark Twain, or Harper Lee. I am reminded also of the prose work of Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird. I loved every page, every sentence, and every word. The writing is exceptional. The hope is real. I was able to see how the subjects she writes about genuinely feel hope!
Her characters are real people who you can understand even without having to live the terrible existence they take as normal. Her characters are really subjects, they do live terrible existences. I don't know anyone who could live in their conditions for more than a few months and survive. Just as I would not survive a week in the Amazon forest; I could not survive a week in the hovels of these people Katherine Boo has come to know, who reside only a few yards from the Mumbai International Airport. Boo's husband is an Indian citizen. She was with these subjects in their slum for more than three years. She spent her days there; she spent evenings in the slum. She knows these people. The events she writes about occurred and she witnessed some of the most difficult scenes that she describes. She corroborated her stories with official government documents. What gets you is these are not statistics, these are people.
What is most powerful is that this is not a book about India . . . it is also a book about America and India. Read between the lines and you see that Katherine Boo wants her reader to look at America to see the parallels that connect us. We like to think that America is better off than India. However, we live in the same world; only the names are different. I read about thirty nonfiction books every year; this is the best book I have read in the last twenty years. Thank you Katherine Boo.
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Initial post: Dec 30, 2012 12:56:22 PM PST
Henry B. Coons says:
It could be a very little like life in the tent cities of the United States. It may well be a lot like life in larger and larger tent cities in the United States as global power seeking and growing corruption eat us up too.
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