Description: Sudha Bhuchar reads Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo’s landmark work of life, death and hope in the slums of Mumbai. Based on years of uncompromising reporting, Behind the Beautiful Forevers tells the story of Annawadi, a makeshift slum sitting in the shadow of Mumbai’s glittering luxury hotels and shiny new international airport. Boo tells the tale of those she met there, from the garbage scavenger to the wannabe slumlord, the corrupt police officers to the slum’s first female college graduate, as she looks at what it takes to escape poverty in one of the 21st century’s great, unequal cities.
1/5 While local teenage boys see a job in the luxury hotels as a way out, one woman sets her sights on becoming the slum’s first female slumlord.
2/5 a young teacher banks on education as a way out of the slums, while a young garbage scavenger is tempted into theft.
3/5 a feud between two Muslim neighbours ends tragically, and threatens to bring down both families.
4/5 while some slum dwellers are forging their way up into the overcity, others are fighting for their lives back in the slum.
5/5 while some slum dwellers are forging their way up into the overcity, others are fighting for their lives back in the slum.
Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that the slums in Mumbai are staggeringly bleak, I had a feeling of inauthenticity from this journalist. The inner thoughts of residents and the lack of cross-sourcing, footnotes etc gives me the shudders in much the same way that Åsne Seierstad’s ‘The Bookseller of Kabul’ did. Boo had a lovely photoshoot opportunity.