Things Fall Apart: A Review of Behind The Beautiful Forevers
This week, I reviewed Kate Boo’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers for The Hindu. At the outset, I liked the book and, as a reporter, was blown away by a number of things that the review doesn’t really address – the way the book was organised, the reporting and research process etc. The review also addresses some of the points made by Mitu Sengupta in her review of the book – published a few weeks ago on Kafila.
Behind a low wall near the taxi stand adjacent to the Sahar Police Station in Mumbai is a ledge of concrete suspended seventy feet above the Mithi River. “By some trick of wind in the sluice,” Katherine Boo writes in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, “trash tossed over the wall tended to blow back and settle on this sliver of concrete. It was a space on which a small boy could balance.”
That small boy is Sunil, a 12-year-old garbage collector determined to find as much trash as it takes to buy food lest hunger stunt his growth and leave him a runty man-child forever shorter than his younger sister. “To jump start his system, he saw he’d have to become a better scavenger. This entailed not dwelling on the obvious…” Read on