Katherine Boo, a staff writer for The New Yorker, has spent the last twenty years reporting from within poor communities, considering how societies distribute opportunity and how individuals get out of poverty. This is her first book.
"Without question the best book yet written on contemporary India. Also, the best work of narrative nonfiction I've read in twenty-five years." - Ramachandra Guha, author of India After Gandhi.
This is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Boo's (The New Yorker) first book. She takes a look at the stark lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a slum across from Mumbai's Sahar Airport, to reveal the wrenching inequality and urban poverty still endemic in India's democracy. Using recorded and videotaped conversations, interviews, documents, and the assistance of interlocutors, Boo profiles the lives of some of the slum dwellers from November 2007 to March 2011. There is Abdul, a young adult scavenger with a profitable trade in recyclables. The one-legged Fatima's home is divided from Abdul's by merely a sheet. Readers follow the treacherous paths of these and other lives. A fateful chain of events leads to a criminal case against Abdul and his family. Boo presents glimpses of the corrupt police who feed on those without political power or education. She claims she witnessed most of the events described in the book. VERDICT A tour de force, this book is powerful yet far from harrowing. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, 8/21/11.]-Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.