Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Book: Katherine Boo's "Behind The Beautiful Forevers"

This was an interesting book.  This is a work of non-fiction that reads so much like a work of fiction that I had to double check a few times.   The book, Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity", is a detailed telling of the lives of a couple families, and the people who live around them, in one of the slums of Mumbai.  The author compiles their stories through a series of interviews with the slum dwellers.  The resulting narrative is both fascinating and depressing.

The book describes the hope and despair of the people who live in squalor trying their best to move up the ladder or, having given in to the reality of their existence, have given up and accepted the world around them as their only one.  Political intrigue, suicide, struggling to improve their lot, surviving.

They live in a world of corrupt police who dispense justice to the highest bidder, politicians who lower their social status through bribe and forgery just so they can run for lower caste designated offices, and trash sorters who survive on the garbage of others to earn enough to leave ... or to pay the necessary bribes just to survive.

I liked this book.  It held my attention.  I wish it went somewhere but that isn't what this book was.  This book is a snapshot of the lives a a group of people.  The narrative is that of life, not the narrative of some mystery show or action movie.

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