After The Beautiful Forever

Something I’ve noticed in most reviews of Katherine Boo’s excellent new book Behind The Beautiful Forevers is that few people are noting the time lag between Boo’s reporting and the present-day. In 2008 when most of the events of Boo’s narrative are unfolding, India’s PPP-adjusted per capita GDI was $3,000. By 2011 that was up to $3,550 an increase of 18 percent! That still leaves it as a very poor country, and the growth is divided unevenly amongst a vast population. But it’s still a huge difference. Any kind of deeply reported project is going to be capturing a particular place and time, but a big part of the story in India and China is that things are changing very quickly.