4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Globalisation and the Indian middle-class,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Last Man in Tower (Kindle Edition)In the West we are familiar with the story of the impact of globalisation on our own middle class. In 'our' story of globalisation, it is easy to think of distant places like India in reductive terms - i.e. a destination for `off-shored' jobs, a place where there are only the obscenely poor and the obscenely rich.
What I found immensely refreshing about Last Man in Tower is that it centres on neither the very poor nor the very rich, but on a group of people we in the West don't associate very much with India; a strangely familiar middle-class of middle aged salaried workers - company accountants, small time estate agents, teachers and small business owners. What we find is that the world of the traditional Indian petty bourgeoisie is as fragile, threatened and hypocritical as our own.
As well as the story of globalisation and its effect on the traditional Indian middle-class, there is also a universal, timeless story in here about greed and the powerful corrupting effect of the opportunity of unearned wealth - the civilised veneer of middle-class life is thinner than we like to think and below it lies the same animal brutality that we expect to find in a thug on the street.
Last Man in Tower is beautifully written and constructed. It starts at a leisurely, relaxed pace, exploring the day to day world of the respectable, not-particularly-interesting, occupants of Vishram Tower `A'. However, as you work your way through the book the tempo slowly but surely quickens, the bass increases and the sky darkens until toward the end you find yourself on the edge of your seat, having been incrementally transported along with the characters into a dark world shaped by greed, personal weakness and corruption. As with Adiga's first book, the booker prize winning The White Tiger, the reader can only be ambivalent about each of the main characters; some are more attractive than others but, like real people, they are all flawed in their own ways.
All that said, Last Man in Tower is not a depressing book. It looks at people, at societies, and sees them for what they are, warts and and all. There is a sort of redemption and a golden thread of hope that runs through the book, which ends on a positive note, based on the reality that few people are truly 'bad', that there is good in the worst of us and life, specifically humanity, has a tendency to survive and to overcome.