Portrait of a Bombay Bar Dancer
When Sonia Faleiro set out to report on Bombay’s bar dancers, she thought she knew what she would find: downtrodden, voiceless women, the helpless victims of predictable poverty.
Instead she meets Leela: nineteen, charismatic and fearlessly outspoken, Leela has been dancing in Bombay’s bars since she was thirteen. With her sharp wit and stubborn optimism, she is the best-paid dancer in a bar on the notorious Mira Road. Leela has a ‘husband’ (who is already married), a few lovers whose names she can’t remember, an insufferable mother camping out in her flat, and an adored best friend, Priya – the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.
Beautiful Thing is the vivid, intimate portrait of a young woman fleeing abuse and poverty to build a life on her own terms, in a city equally bent on reinventing itself.
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‘A small masterpiece of observation and intimate reportage.’—William Dalrymple
‘A magnificent book.’—Kiran Desai
‘Unforgettable’—Gregory David Roberts
“an engaging, colourful story” - the Herald Sun
“Faleiro’s sharp observational prose and novelistic characterisation makes this a gripping read, as well as an enlightening one” - The Big Issue
‘[An] intimate and valuable book of literary reportage.' – The New York Times
The Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year, 2011
A Guardian, Observer, and Economist Best Book of the Year, 2011