“Both a tragic monument to the abused bar girls of Bombay and a celebration of their amazing resilience and spirit.”—William Dalrymple, bestselling author of The Anarchy
Published in India to great acclaim and named a Time Out Subcontinental Book of the Year and an Observer Book of the Year, Beautiful Thing is a stunning piece of journalism that offers a rare firsthand glimpse into Bombay’s notorious sex industry.
Sonia Faleiro was a reporter in search of a story when she met nineteen-year-old Leela, a charismatic exotic dancer with a story to tell. Leela introduced Sonia to the underworld of Bombay’s dance bars: a world of glamorous women; of fierce love, sex, and violence; of gangsters, police, prostitutes, and pimps. When an ambitious politician cashed in on a tide of false morality and had Bombay’s dance bars wiped out, Leela’s proud independence faced its greatest test. In a city where almost everyone is certain that someone, somewhere, is worse off than them, she fights to survive—and to win.
In Beautiful Thing, Sonia Faleiro has crafted one of the most original works about India in years, an “intimate and valuable book of literary reportage . . . [that] will break your heart several times over” (The New York Times).
“Reporting at its best.”—Junot Díaz, The Rumpus
“A glimpse into a frightening subculture … In lesser hands, these young people could have come off as clichés, but the author makes sure we care for them and root for them to survive a life that most will never understand. Gritty, gripping, and often heartbreaking—an impressive piece of narrative nonfiction.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)