Last Man In Tower by Aravind Adiga

Last Man in TowerI loved Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel ‘The White Tiger’ and short story collection ‘Between the Assassinations’ and his latest novel ‘Last Man in Tower’ is equally enthralling.  The story is about a real estate developer Dharmen Shah who offers the residents of a dilapidated tower block in Mumbai vast amounts of money to leave so that he can build luxury apartments on the land.  Of course, one by one they all accept his offer apart from Masterji, a retired widower.  Soon, his neighbours become prepared to take matters into their own hands.

I love Adiga’s evocative and colourful descriptions of life in India. His writing in ‘Last Man In Tower’ truly brings twenty-first century Mumbai to life – everything from the smell of the traffic to the taste of the food leaps off the page.  The book is as much about the city as it is about the large and complex cast of characters who inhabit it with the reader being confronted with the messy realities of life in modern India.  The characters themselves are masterfully drawn and I like how Adiga makes them a little bit ambiguous  – even though you may sympathise with  Masterji for not wanting to leave the building which holds so many memories and admire him for standing up to Shah, he is still not a perfect human being and as a reader, I felt frustrated by his stubbornness at times.  While the pace is a little slow, this is unsurprising given that this book is driven by its characters and the sprawling complexity of the setting rather than the action of the plot.  ‘Last Man in Tower’ is a smart, entertaining and impressive piece of work and I highly recommend it.


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6 responses to “Last Man In Tower by Aravind Adiga

  1. I was given this book for Christmas and still haven’t got round to reading it but it sounds very good! I’ll have to push it a bit higher up my To Read pile!


  2. markswords

    have you been to Mumbai? Such a unique city I think it would be hard to capture it in words. But I like Adiga’s previous work and will have to give this book a shot.


    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      No, I’ve never been to India but I love the way Adiga describes the setting with such energy.


      • markswords

        Another really good Mumbai-based book is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. He’s an Australian convict who escapes to Mumbai and gets involved with the local mafia and lives in the slums for a year. He’s not the best writer but it’s based on a true story and very well told.


  3. Enjoyed The White Tiger – so after reading your review, will dash off and get Last Man in Tower!


  4. The format of The White Tiger grew tiresome, I thought (letters, right? – it was a while ago). But I am interested in following Adiga’s work.


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