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Cheryl's books

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The Collected Stories
John McGahern
George Eliot
Omensetter's Luck
William H. Gass
Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
A Naked Singularity (Paper)
Sergio De La Pava
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews
Geoff Dyer
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Claire Tomalin
Maps and Legends
Michael Chabon
Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo This was a familiar type of story about India, but I naively had thought that this kind of story had mostly disappeared, that modernisation of India had also done away with most of this very dire poverty and resulting brutalities. Corruption, poverty, ambition and self-preservation are intimately entwined and mutually dependent, and exist on a much grander scale than I ever imagined, even when at my most cynical. The story focuses on a few families in a large squalid slum beside Mumbai Airport. The slogan of a flooring company, "Beautiful forever", is plastered repetitively along the wall along the airport road, hiding the slums from the travelers. Tragedy and injustice heap upon one another in rapid succession. The problem isn't the slum -- it is the systemic governmental/business/societal corruption permeating all areas of life. These poverty stricken zones are magnifying glasses of the resulting effects. The despair is not relentless though. It is partially countered by victories, and by numerous examples of stubborn resilience.