Katherine Boo's " Behind The Beautiful Forevers' is a non-fiction narrative detailing life in a Mumbai undercity. She spent four years following the inhabitants of Annawaddi, an unexceptional slum, one of so many in India.
In this parallel universe, located just steps away from the modern and prospering New India, we are introduced to unimaginable levels of poverty and abject conditions of the people residing there. Most make their living as garbage pickers, profiting off the waste "of things richer people throw away." Crumpled cigarette packages, a piece of a rubber flip-flop, rusted bottle caps. Trash is scavenged and sorted, stolen, traded and sold. This is the mechanics of an undercity economy. There is squalor and unthinkable hardship. There is corruption and despair. There is also love and humor, goodness and hope.
To read about this city within a city is to observe the inequities of society as well as to be in awe of the people who persevere and never leave sight of better possibilities.
--Laura S., Sachs Branch