23 November 2015

Two for One: "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" and "An Irish Country Doctor"

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Since relocating to Raleigh we've joined a local book club. We've worked our way through two books, both of which were enjoyable, albeit for quite different reasons.

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo is an example of long-form non-fiction. Based on four years of research in a Mumbai slum, Boo weaves together an account of several families as they try (and largely fail) to move out of the slum and up to the lower reaches of India's growing middle class. Behind the Beautiful Forevers painstakingly details the extraordinary challenges of everyday life, the petty feuds, and gross corruption that characterizes the lives of the tens of millions who move to India's mega-cities in the hope of a different life, which explains the book's subtitle: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. By the time Boo ends her story, the slum is razed in another round of expansion of Mumbai's international airport. Thus, for all I know, I rode over or past it when it when I visited Mumbai in 2010
Mumbai Slums at Water's Edge

Patrick Taylor's An Irish Country Doctor was a delightfully light read. Sort of a Northern Ireland version of Jan Karon's Mitford series with a bit more realism.
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Reading An Irish Country Doctor even occasioned a coincidence that I mentioned here. Turns out that Patrick Taylor is on also Twitter and that both of us greatly enjoy the hard-to-find leechi fruit.

In short: two good books that we recommend.

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