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Eric

Lake Oswego, OR, United States | Member Since 2008

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  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Katherine Boo
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (624)
    Performance
    (536)
    Story
    (545)

    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 “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption.

    Dr. says: "An Antidote for Shantaram"
    "An Antidote for Shantaram"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Katherine Boo's book is a good antidote for Gregory David Roberts' Shantaran. Whereas Shantaram appears to view its Mumbai slum through some type of fantasy haze that is ultimately used to glorify its author, Boo's Mumbai slum is stark, unadorned, and filled with people who are barely surviving (or in many cases, not surviving). At times, I felt like a car driver who has been mesmerized by an accident on the side of the road - at other times I simply felt sad and wondered what drew me to this story. For me, this book represents another important facet of India - the conflict between Hindus and Muslims, poverty, corruption, and misery - that needs to be appreciated along with all of the other literary efforts to portray India. Although this is a grim story, it also highlights the grit, ingenuity, and perseverance of people who live on the edge.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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