Charlie Rose recently sat down with National Book Award finalist Katherine Boo to discuss her critically acclaimed book Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. It’s a terrific conversation where Pulitzer Prize-winning Boo, a self-described “unreconstructed feminist”, speaks about how the genesis for the story began with her meeting her husband in India in 2001.
She describes how when she first met him, she knew that if she were to ever meet him again her life “would change completely”. And it most certainly did. The story for her book evolved as she surveyed the disparate gap between the obscene wealth of India and the unspeakable poverty that permeates every corner of the giant country. She also reveals her encounter with a young Indian boy whose days are spent scouring the mountains of garbage near Mumbai’s luxurious airport. She tells the story of how it’s impossible to stick a microphone in front of someone such as this and expect them to answer the question “Tell me who you are.” Instead, she follows the people she is most fascinated by, with the hope of observing something that reveals this person’s character. One day while this boy was picking through the vast Mumbai garbage pile, he told Katherine that he came across a beautiful set of purple lotus flowers in a swampy area where he was scavenging. She recounts, “He knew he could sell them on the street to people passing by in cars, but instead he kept it as a secret because it was more important to him to know that there was this beauty in the world, than it was to turn it into something transactional.”
You can watch the interview in full by clicking on the link below, and to pick up your own copy of Katherine Boo’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity simply head over to Amazon, and be sure to visit the book’s website at BehindTheBeautifulForevers.com.
TO WATCH CHARLIE ROSE’S INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE BOO FAST FORWARD TO THE 38:38 MARK.