The characters in the book.I'm from India and I was fortunate to have effectively won the "birth lottery". But poverty is all around and just like in the US, there is a tendency of the well off to blame the poor for being poor. The poor are an inconvenience, a blight, a sorry spectacle that mars the vision of a more prosperous India. Books like these humanize them and but for the circumstances of their existence, they are like anyone else with hopes, aspirations, fears, vices, etc. I think the author did an excellent job of describing their lives without judgement or melodrama. This book isn't entertainment, or "poverty porn" along the lines of The Slumdog Millionaire. It is very hard to listen to and very hard to hold back tears as we learn about how hard the characters struggle to get by and get stymied by the very people who are supposed to help them. It made me very angry and very sad. And yet, the fact that the fire of aspiration continues to burn bright and the desire to break free remains supreme fills you with hope for the characters and the country at large.
I am a member of a book club. I sometimes forget why I belong to it because I really like my vampire books. This book is the reason. I would not have read this book if it did not show up on the monthly list. It tell a true story of life in India. The characters are real. You feel for their plight. You hope for them. It is a travesty they live like they do. I now have a better understanding of a place I will never visit. I wish at the end of the book there was a suggestion of how to help or what would help this society as a whole.
Boos ability to edit and weave a coherent, compelling story out of realities she encountered is a laudable feat. That the stories were not invented is nearly devastating; that hope survives in such a situation is encouraging and heartbreaking.
This audiobook offers an extraordinary reading experience!
The images, characters and language of a slum in Mumbai are brilliantly captured by a journalist at the top of her game.
The actor's facility with accents and language and different voices clarified the listening experience and actually enhanced a great book.
This story offers an entirely new perspective to someone who is unfamiliar with India, or desperate, soul killing poverty for that matter. It is terribly sad on one level, but written and read with so much life and power it becomes electrifying, as compelling as a novel.
I had hopes to embrace the human condition and my capacity, but try as I might, I just couldn't bring myself to finish the book. I struggled with this because I work in the field of addictions and see tragedy often enough. But there is no hope other than a bleak existence. It was so depressing.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers is certainly one of the best books I have ever listened to. The stories of the individuals are completely engrossing. But what makes the book so compelling, and so valuable, is the context in which the stories take place. You will not look at the global economy or India itself in quite the same way after this book. In particular there is a new understanding of, and perhaps tolerance (perhaps frustration) of the official corruption which exists in India.
The book is not uplifting, and in many instances is depressing. However the ironic humor of the author and the wry observations of her and the characters make it very enjoyable. The reading is outstanding and contributes substantially to the enjoyment of the audiobook.
It most reminds me of some of the Indian tragedies, like A Fine Balance by Mistry.
It takes you to another country. You feel as if you know the characters.
The slum dwellers really become persons of interest to you. They are three-dimensional human beings you care about. And when they suffer, you actually feel for them. The author is quite exceptional in transporting her readers to Mumbai in the 1990s.
No difficulty with names, places, etc.
Micro-economies and the price of global capitalism in the developing world.
No, I recommend the audiobook to all my friends. I have not actually read the book but heard about it from a friend. Then, I listened to it, and I was really captivated. It's marvelous!
This is a very listenable hybrid of actual events and people with the narrative voice of a novel. I truly couldn't turn it off once I'd started.
Two things - 1) understand that it needs realism but it was all disaster, corruption and struggle all the way through. Would have really liked a little "hope" thrown in there too. 2) Would have liked a stronger story thread - chopping and changing between so many characters constantly left me a little lost, especially when listening in small chunks.
Great voices, accents, gave atmosphere and realism to the story.