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Last Man in Tower [Paperback]

Aravind Adiga
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

1 Feb 2012
21st Century Mumbai is a city of new money and soaring real estate, and property kingpin Dharmen Shah has grand plans for its future. His offer to buy and tear down a weathered tower block, making way for luxury apartments, will make each of its residents rich - if all agree to sell. But not everyone wants to leave; many of the residents have lived there for a lifetime, many of them are no longer young. As tensions rise among the once civil neighbours, one by one those who oppose the offer give way to the majority, until only one man stands in Shah's way: Masterji, a retired schoolteacher, once the most respected man in the building. Shah is a dangerous man to refuse, but as the demolition deadline looms, Masterji's neighbours - friends who have become enemies, acquaintances turned co-conspirators - may stop at nothing to score their payday...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848875185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848875180
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for 2008. A former Indian correspondent for Time magazine, his writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Times among other publications. He lives in Mumbai.

Product Description


I was absolutely mesmerized by this novel, and think that Aravind Adiga is already, with this, his second book, the most exciting novelist writing in English today. --A. N. Wilson

Extraordinary and brilliant... Adiga is a real writer - that is to say, someone who forges an original voice and vision. --Sunday Times

A funny yet deeply melancholic work, Last Man in Tower is a brilliant, and remarkably mature, second novel. A rare achievement. --The Economist

About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974. He studied at Columbia and Oxford universities. A former India correspondent for Time magazine, his articles have also appeared in publications including the Financial Times, Independent and the Sunday Times. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, as was his short-story collection Between the Assassinations (2009).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss it! 23 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometimes a book is so good it's hard to do justice to it in a review. This is one of those books.

As the Vakola area of Bombay (as the author usually calls it) begins to come up in the world, the inhabitants of an apartment block are offered money by a developer to move out. One man, Masterji, a retired teacher, wants to stay. This is the story of how the promise of wealth changes and corrupts a community. But it's also so much more than that. The author takes us into the lives of Masterji and his neighbours, letting us see their thoughts and dreams and fears. With humanity and humour he paints a picture of the friendships, favours and shared histories that bind a community together; and then shows how small envies and old grievances are magnified when that community is divided.

Bombay itself is a major character in the book. There is a real sense of how the city is changing as India becomes richer. The contrasts between the lucky rich and the frightening hand-to-mouth existence of the very poor are woven into the story, but subtly, so that the reader accepts these contrasts as easily as the inhabitants. The author also highlights the cosmopolitan nature of the city, the differing religions and cultures all forming one vibrant whole.

This book made me laugh and cry. It is full of warmth and the characters are drawn sympathetically and affectionately. In many ways an intimate portrait of a small group of people, but also an in-depth look at the strengths and frailties of human nature. By a long way, this is the best book I have read this year. Don't miss it!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Ryan Williams VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Your sympathy goes out to Aravind Adiga. Your first novel is a success, selling over a million copies and landing the 2008 Booker. Second novels are hard; bad examples lie thickly on the ground. This novel would have to follow on from The White Tiger, attempt a larger picture of Mumbai society, high and low, and present a greedy developer vs. downtrodden people story, and do it all without becoming a mere 'message novel'. The stakes couldn't seem higher.

Lucky for us, Adiga's talents survive expectation, and deliver more of what he excels at: realistic fables. Unlike many authors who write about India, Adiga shuns the ornamental and the overblown for precision and grit. The milieu is the same - Mumbai, seen from above the heights of its towering new centres of enterprise and commerce, to the slums where headless animals, 'a smear of pink imprinted with a tyre tread, an exclamation mark of blood' slump next to playing infants. He has sympathy for the downtrodden, but seems them clearly; he can present a ruthless developer's backstory with flashes of humanity; he can command variety of character and mood. If not quite an ensemble piece, the novel boasts a a larger cast, and to its benefit. However seemingly unimportant a person may seem, Adiga reminds us how we each carry a piece of our country's story within us, the imprint it makes:

'In old buildings truth is a communal thing, a consensus of opinion. Vishram society retained mementoes, over forty-eight years, of all those who had lived in it; each resident had left a physical record of himself there, like the kerosense handprint made by Rajeev Ajwani on the front wall on the day of his great tae kwon-do victory. If you knew how to read Vishram's walls, you would find them covered with handprints.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How evil happens. 23 Feb 2012
I read "White Tiger" a while ago and remember being impressed even though I can't recall anything about it now.I doubt that I'll forget this engrossing novel very quickly.

The story is a simple one about how decent people can,given the right circumstances,do terrible things.Adiga's talent is to trace the descent into evil with meticulous care and observation.No one in this novel is without flaw,just as no one is totally without redemptive features.Even the central heroic character is marked with pomposity,vanity and self deception.All the characters are given the time and space to develop themselves,all are realised as personalities,not cyphers, because of the length of the novel and its concentration on one central theme.

Perhaps the true villain of the piece is the city of Mumbai,shown here as a mixture of aching poverty,slick wealth,glamour,greed,envy,stunning beauty and teeming humanity.Where you live here is what you are to the world.What you have is what matters about you.Destitution means living on the pavement and scrounging a living from the filth around you.Wealth means existing in glamorous otherworld made all the more sumptuous by its existing within sight of human misery.Maybe this explains the devastating impact that the prospect of wealth has on the characters in the novel or maybe we're all capable of inhumanity, given the right circumstances.Whichever way you look at it,this is a novel that transcends its time and setting even though Mumbai is vibrantly and fascinatingly a major player in it.

If I read another novel of this quality this year,I shall count myself lucky.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The White Tiger has escaped 19 Oct 2011
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
I agree that it must be hard to produce a novel after reaching the unexpected heights of a Booker win so early in one's career as a novelist.

This continues the theme of how rapid change and exposure to western materialism is corrupting traditional Indian society and values, and rightly seeks a different theme from the prize-winning "The White Tiger", which highlights the gulf between rich and poor. In this case the community of residents in a proudly "middle class" Bombay tower block are split apart by the lure of a businessman's very generous offer for them to leave, to enable him to redevelop the site for luxury apartments. The story is also a study of human nature - the way in which formerly decent people turn on the one moral - and perhaps foolishly stubborn - soul who persists in refusing to be bought, thereby sabotaging their one off chance to get their hands on the windfall which they imagine will transform their lives.

Although I want to admire and enjoy this book, it seems to me to lack the sharp wit and verbal imagery, combined with creative imagination and originality of "The White Tiger". Despite the large cast of potentially interesting and moving characters, I found the scenes too plodding and pedestrian to sustain my interest. The opening pages also read more like a journalist's article, than a piece of creative writing in which the reader gradually works out what is going on, who the characters are and what they are like.

I may return to this book and try the author again with another title, but was a little disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars That so-called difficult second novel!
If there were fears that Mr Adiga's follow up novel to the Booker prize winning "The White Tiger" might be problematical for him as it has so often been for other first time... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stuart Mcleod
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and a disappointment compared to the White Tiger
I really enjoyed Adiga's book The White Tiger. So thought I would enjoy this one. But it just isn't captivating and I gave up on it quickly. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Aparna
4.0 out of 5 stars He cannot beat the last one
This was probably more challenging after the last book that Aravind wrote as people must have placed high expectations and pressure on him to write a book as great as "The... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Leeanna
5.0 out of 5 stars Bombay
A well written yarn which I'm sure has many elements of truth. Made me yearn to revisit Bombay. Sorry to come yo the end.
Published 5 months ago by joanna
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
The book is written with sympathy and knowledge. The characters shine from the page offering readers an insight into a different way of life.
Published 5 months ago by domini tansey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I would recommend this book to all those not brave enough or not fit and energetic enough to get out of their comfort zone and experience the hardships millions suffer on a daily... Read more
Published 5 months ago by denisewhiting
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Man in Tower
All human life is in this book set in teeming Bombay. The characters in the book are all so well drawn & so believable. There is humour & tragedy. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pat45
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant fable of modernising India
An enjoyable read with beauifully drawn, larger than life characters. The story unfolds in a sometimes amusing and sometimes frustratingly inevitable manner. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Michael Gibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Well told story
Gently told but persistent to the inevitable end. Quintessential India provides the backdrop to the depiction of greed, desperation and betrayal.
Published 7 months ago by Donal O'Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject
The book is a fascinating portrayal of the characters, location and culture of modern day Bombay. The ending pulls the whole narrative together in a thought provoking way. Read more
Published 8 months ago by R. Parker
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