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Behind the Beautiful Forevers

A Play

David Hare

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Behind the Beautiful Forevers Download image

ISBN10: 086547835X
ISBN13: 9780865478350

Trade Paperback

128 Pages


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India is surging with global ambition. But beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, Annawadi, full of people with plans of their own.

Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, twelve and stunted, wants to eat until he's as tall as Kalu the thief. Asha seeks to steal government antipoverty funds to turn herself into a "first-class person," while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum's first female graduate.

But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighborhood.
For Behind the Beautiful Forevers, journalist Katherine Boo spent three years in Annawadi recording the lives of its residents. From her uncompromising book, David Hare has fashioned a tumultuous play on an epic scale.


Praise for Behind the Beautiful Forevers

“[A] profoundly touching new play.”—The Economist

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt

Act One


A bare stage, epic. It’s a maidan, as yet undefined. Abdul Husain comes on. He is in his late teens, wiry, sullen – an old man of a boy. He has a matchstick between his teeth. Behind him there is a huge mound...

About the author

David Hare

David Hare is a playwright, screenwriter, and theater and film director. He was won numerous awards and is best known for his screenplays for The Hours (2002) and The Reader (2008) and the plays Plenty (which he adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep in 1985), Racing Demon (1990), Skylight (1997), and Amy's View (1998). He lives in London.

David Hare