I have been struggling to begin Katherine Boo’s book myself, for various reasons. So this is an interesting post to read…. I wonder why living conditions and housing are such low priority for journalists and researchers looking at poverty?
Every so often, a book about poor people captures the attention of large numbers of first-world readers. Journalist Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercityjust won the U.S’s National Book Award and is currently number 11 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for nonfiction. I recently picked up the book – though I didn’t really want to. The thought of reading a detailed narrative about the personal and work lives of poor people in an informal settlement in Mumbai, written by an American journalist, sparked some anxiety in me, as this subject is a difficult one for any writer to treat fairly. I was curious about Boo’s approach to representation and also worried about what I might find. What follows is not a critique of the facts or analysis in the book, as I’ve never been to Mumbai and have no…
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