Behind the Beautiful Forevers
This work of narrative nonfiction tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. In it, based on three years of reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. The events recounted are real, as are all the names. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees fortune in the recyclable garbage of richer people. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a rural childhood, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter, Annawadi's "most-everything girl," will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to good times they call "the full enjoy." But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.
New York : Random House, ©2012.
xxii, 256 pages ;,25 cm