2014 Marc and Constance Jacobson Lecture
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: An Evening with Katherine Boo
Katherine Boo, staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, will talk about her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing in the UMMA Forum.
About the book: In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
Presented by the Institute for the Humanities and LSA Theme Semester: India in the World with support from the Zell Visiting Writers Series, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and the Center for South Asian Studies.