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"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo


July dawn. A passerby finds a scavenger lying in the mud by the Mumbai airport road. Crying for help — leg mashed and bloody — probably hit by a car. "Thousands of people passed this way every morning." ... "At 2:30 p.m., a Shiv Sena man made a call to a friend in the Sahar Police Station about a corpse that was disturbing small children."

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo. Besides print, also available as an audiobook, e-book and e-audio. Website for the Book.

Is this journalism? This is journalism.

Deceptively novel-like as it begins, we soon get into the pace and tone. Strands of events, captured and crystalized, told as they need to be told.

The Taj at Agra, view from the river., Digital ID 81430, New York Public LibraryThere are many descriptions, synopses and reviews of this book out there. Not surprising, given it won the 2012 National Book Award for nonfiction. It also has been selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2012. And a contender for the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism for 2013 — though we'll have to wait to find out those results.

But don't read the reviews. Read the book!


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