This Year's Featured Book

Reading Katherine Boo's National Book Award winning Behind the Beautiful Forevers leaves one's mind and heart shaken and changed. Her thick and intense description of people striving to survive a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport in India reads like a gripping novel that is all too real in its tale of poverty and depredation, of human frailty and strength. On every page you'll find the makings of a tragedy but also glimmers of possibilities for surviving tragedy. And on every page you'll learn from Boo's unsentimental empathy and insight how to think with respect about the hard and complex condition of life under terrible stress. You'll leave the book equipped with her deep insights into how people survive alongside one another in an era and place of tumultuous change. And you'll leave amazed at the writer's commitment to getting the story right by living within it and rendering it in pitch perfect prose.
--Professor Alan Tansman (East Asian Languages and Cultures, member of the 2015 Faculty Selection Committee)
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Another Music for Poverty Alleviation

--a new Berkeley Blog by Clare Talwalker

The celebrated author Katherine Boo is in town talking about her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It is a remarkable book based on her months and years spent watching and talking to people in a Mumbai self-built settlement and hunting up official records for background. Her book tells a tale that sings off the page, as anthropologist Erica Bornstein puts it in... read more


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