This plot-driven, non-fiction work follows the life of Abdul, a hardscrabble youth who supports his family of eleven by scavenging through garbage for recyclables, while dreaming of a“clean job”, perhaps at one of the luxury airport hotels that loom above Annawadi. At the same time, Abdul struggles to survive against murder charges promoted by a graft-ridden criminal justice system.
The people of Annawadi are subject to the vicissitudes of world commerce and racial, religious, and class divisions. Their abject poverty often pits them against each other instead of creating solidarity. Boo expertly depicts heartbreaking personal narratives with a subtle critique of the structural obstacles facing Annawadi’s residents—social, economic, cultural, and political. Yet at the same time what shines through is our shared human needs, dreams, and passions. These intersecting topics fit well with the Collaboration Project’s theme for Hunger for Justice.
This, Boo’s first book, was preceded by her extensive journalism on urban poverty for The New Yorker and The Washington Post; she is a Pulitzer Prize winner and McArthur Genius Award recipient.