Boo writes that even those who are relatively fortunate in Annawadi, where people’s lives are greatly improved, beggar others of their chances. The residents, who want nothing more than to “consolidate and preserve” their privilege without considering the privilege of others, turn Annawadi into a gray zone where the human spirit of audacious hope and dauntlessness is tested. It seems that this new capitalism and hollowed-out democracy in India are neither able to relieve the social-Darwinist brutality nor to provide a testimony to the audacity of hope.
The power of literary prose is also derived from its considerable elegance and sobriety. The book’s narrative skillfully stitches together carefully researched individual lives, offering a risky and prolonged self-exposure that can be seen as a product of unspoken analysis. It does not descend into a catalog of atrocities, dismissing Annawadi as a defensive nationalist Indian might. Instead, it describes the undercity as a bloodsport, with the ironic title “Beautiful Forever” taken from the Italianate floor tiles advertisements that hide the view from Annawadi. Each evening, the profit-minded, broken-toothed Santas return down the slum road, carrying sacks of garbage on their backs like a bright metaphorical procession, reminiscent of the Hyatt’s glimmering glass.
“Her parents extort $100 from her before she attends the doctors, though she dies from consuming rat poison. She is forced into an arranged marriage, while her closest friend struggles to figure out the absurdity of the college-going girl’s situation. Indeed, the essential facts of commerce and politics, as well as the familial and monstrous nature of society, are shrewdly trained upon her by the eye of “Mrs. Dalloway”. Why don’t our unequal societies value and utilize their capabilities? Whose social and economic policies are squandering these capabilities? Whose society is this, given that the opportunity infrastructure is provided by the government’s social and economic market wing? The author, Boo, explains in her book “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” that this questioning of inequality is provoked by Mumbai’s profound spectacle.”Output: “Her parents extort $100 from her before she visits the doctors, even though she dies after consuming rat poison. She is coerced into a forced marriage, while her dearest friend grapples with the absurdity of the young college girl’s predicament. Truly, the necessary truths of trade and politics, as well as the familial and monstrous aspects of society, are astutely observed through the eyes of “Mrs. Dalloway”. Why do our unequal societies not value and waste their abilities? Whose social and economic policies are squandering these abilities? Whose society is this, considering that the government’s social and economic market wing provides the infrastructure for opportunities? The author, Boo, explains in her novel “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” that this inquiry into inequality is sparked by the profound display of Mumbai.”
Instead of the intrepid adventurer in the Asian badlands or the faux-naïf explainer, this book belongs to the reflective sensibility that subtly informs every page, striving to gently challenge ideological claims and provide a nuanced understanding based on previous experiences. It creates a close contact between the first and fourth worlds, dealing with numerous ethical conundrums and exploring the story of how an American white journalist overcame outright hostility from the police and suspicion from her subjects. Wisely, Boo has absented herself from the narrative, leaving you to intermittently wonder about the omniscient narrator of the book.