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Last Man in Tower

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  3,666 ratings  ·  482 reviews
A tale of one man refusing to leave his home in the face of property development. Tower A is a relic from a co-operative housing society established in the 1950s. When a property developer offers to buy out the residents for eye-watering sums, the principled yet arrogant teacher is the only one to refuse the offer, determined not to surrender his sentimental attachment to...more
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published September 2011 by Atlantic Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Man Booker Prize Eligible 2011
21st out of 154 books — 255 voters
The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Indian Books
117th out of 536 books — 1,553 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sofia
Sorry to start with a cliche, but wow. I have never been to India and I'm only somewhat familiar with Delhi. I didn't know anything about Mumbai before I read this. Sure, there's Slumdog Millionaire, but I haven't read the book and all I got from the movie was that there are very, very poor people living in slums next door to very luxurious buildings. Which also happens to be the case in Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro and other places. If you want to see, hear, smell, taste, truly experience Mumbai...more
Preeti
The first thing, the inevitable thing, is the comparison to The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga's first book that won the Man Booker Prize. (Side note: I have no idea about the awards most books win and don't really use those as a reason for reading - or not reading - a book.)

I thought The White Tiger packed a punch, it was in your face, fast-paced... None of these characteristics are present in this book. This book has more of a slow, trickling effect. It kind of creeps up on you and then leaves you...more
Pia
I liked The White Tiger, I loved Between the Assassinations, but I adored Last Man in Tower. I think part of the reason this book was so poignant to me was the clear connection between the characters in this book and real life. My grandmother's society in Bandra East is about to be dismantled and pretty much everything that is happening in this story may very well be happening in real life. In the spirit of RK Narayan and Rohinton Mistry, Aravind Adiga's Vishram Society is so true-to-life; the c...more
Vijay
As somebody who is living in India, I have experienced the massive real estate growth that has taken place in India in the last few years. Buying a home was a middle class aspiration for a long time and one which people strove for in their life.

Slowly but surely, this dream is getting out of reach for a majority of Indian people. Property prices have sky-rocketed in cities leaving ordinary middle class aspirants reeling. Just a cursory look at how the business is conducted in India shows how uno...more
Cynthia
Falling

“Last Man in Tower” may not be a book you’ll enjoy reading but will probably be a book you’ll feel rewarded for finishing. As we’ve learned to expect from Adiga the book is incredibly well written and the characters have depth. It’s not a pretty world they inhabit though. Money appears to be the main theme of this book but in my opinion it’s only a vehicle for more personally important themes such as human dignity, respect, and betrayal. “Tower” is rife with metaphor. One that stands out...more
Justin
What a massive disappointment. I was a huge fan of The White Tiger, but other than being set in India this book has nothing in common with its predecessor. There is no humor, no great sense of place, the characters never get stuck in the reader's imagination, and the preachy, didactic nature of the novel just grates on the nerves after awhile. The painful over-exposition throughout the dialogue was particularly surprising for a writer of Adiga's talent. He doesn't trust his readers to figure any...more
Nagesh
Somehow I feel something about his nation of birth has rubbed him (Arvind Adiga) very wrongly

I see only a pessimistic view of most things and the same views get translated into words in his stories

I pretty much did not like "White Tiger" and really honestly wondered how it deserved the Booker Prize, but this one is also nothing great to write about

The plot looked interesting from the back-page hence I went on to read it. The start of the story is also intersting, the description of the mohalla,...more
Katie
I loved "White Tiger" by this author and decided I had to read this newer book. I did not like it as much, however, it did contain a lot of the same things I liked about this author's writing style from White Tiger.

I was not totally drawn into this book's plot as much as I was hoping. I thought it was a bit too long and just not quite gripping enough. I found the ending to not be completely convincing, in terms of these peoples' moral failings. So that was an issue--I definitely did not find it...more
Corey
Mar 16, 2014 Corey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: india
I really enjoy Aravind Adiga’s writing. He knows how to convey subtle yet poignant humor, and large messages through deceptively simple stories – particularly relating to greed and corruption.

This book lost me a little bit because there were so many characters. I kept getting Mrs. Rego and Mrs. Puri confused, ditto for Mr. Ajwani and Mr. Kudwa, and the various children were all a bit of a mish-mash. The central conflict of the novel struck me as a bit unnecessary. Masterji, an elderly resident o...more
Felice
A couple years ago author AravindAdiga had a big critical and commercial hit with the Man Booker winning The White Tiger. It was a funny, gritty, grisly, wonderful, contemporary Horatio Alger/ Kind Hearts and Coronets story set in India. Adiga’s new novel, Last Man In Tower, can be described with all the same adjectives (and then some) except this time he’s not creating his version of a dark rags to riches story but the classic Kaufman and Hart play, You Can’t Take It With You.

The tower itself i...more
Zanna
Adiga's constellation of Vishram Society inhabitants are well furnished with religious backgrounds, family histories, personalities and motives, but efforts to foresee the twists in the tale are foiled by human unpredictability. Heroes and villains reveal unexpected facets throughout; the murderer finds a conscience; the friend tears up the token and changes sides; the loving mother goes absolutely all the way for her disabled son...

On reflection, I've come back to thinking how it's structures t...more
Tony
Adiga's acerbic and darkly funny debut novel, The White Tiger, won the 2008 Booker Prize, so expectations are high for this one. I quite liked the earlier book for its unabashed class warfare plotline and compelling moral ambiguity. This one deals with similar themes: invoking the aspirations of rich, poor, and middle class in a story revolving around a developer's attempt to buy out the residents of an old building in Mumbai so he can tear it down and build a luxury condo. The catch is that acc...more
Candace
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wolf
There is a point when Adiga’s latest suddenly comes to life. The man last holding out in the tower block, not prepared to sell to a developer, seems to have run out of ways to fight the builder whilst others in the block are desperate that they might have miss the deadline for accepting the builder’s deadline and prepare to try and force the old man’s hand. The story gains dynamism, strength and tension. Sadly, by this point I was about three-quarters of the way through the book.

It isn’t easy to...more
The-vault
By Aravind Adiga. Grade: B
Ask any Bombaywallah about Tower A of the Vishram Co-operative Housing Society and you will be told that it is unimpeachably pucca. Despite its location close to the airport and bordered by slums, it has been pucca for some fifty years. But then Bombay has changed in half a century – not least its name – and the world in which Tower A was first built is giving way to a new city, a Mumbai of new development and new money; of wealthy Indians returning with fortunes made a...more
Vidya Tiru
My Take: This was a book that left me devastated in the end. It was kind of reading an adult version of Lord of the Flies in a different setting.
The book is set in Vakola, Mumbai and focuses on the residents of Vishram Society. The apartment complexes that make up the Society are eyed by Shah, a real estate developer who plans to build his dream there. His efforts to clear the buildings in order to realize his dream – by making generous (in the real estate world) financial offers to the resident...more
Ajay
I read this book complusively. I have witnessed first hand the real estate growth in India. I have seen the naked greed and aspirations of the middle class (of which I am a part too). I have seen the extreme religiosity and the erosion of moral values (morality and religion are not to be confused here). Adiga takes all this and packages it in a compelling tale of desire, greed and ambition. I could almost see the characters living and breathing. It was a visual read. This is one book that is scr...more
John Pappas
Adiga's novel is at once a portrait of fierce resistance - that of one man, Masterji, a former teacher in Mumbai - and a portrait of the futility of resistance to the surge in redevelopment that is transforming both the landscape and the people in Mumbai. The engaging characters and their families each follow their own moral path, and Adiga shows how the promise of easy money, and the prevalence of corruption lead to the abandonment of traditions and morality. He seems to beg the reader to conte...more
Mary
I absolutely love this book and its truth as to the Indian mindset. The novel is set in Mumbai and revolves around one particular Vishram society and its residents. An eclectic mixture of people reside in the two dilapidated towers – Tower A and Tower B that the society comprises of. Yogesh Murthy, better known as the Masterji, Mrs.Puri, the Pintos, the Secretary and many such lay the foundation of the story. The storyline is as simple as it could get. In the power hungry and money minded underw...more
Krista
Here's Russell Peters on being Indian:

All my life I've been identifying myself as an Indian man. I'm always like, I'm Indian. What are you? I'm Indian. Where you from? I'm Indian. What do you mean, where am I from? I'm Indian. And then I realised something. I was born and raised in Canada. There's nothing Indian about me! The only thing Indian about me are my parents and my skin tone. That's it! Culturally, I'm not Indian at all. And the only reason I know this is because last year I went to Ind...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This is the second book of Aravind Adiga’s that I have read, after thoroughly enjoying his Man Booker prize winning novel The White Tiger which I also recommend. In this novel we meet a host of colourful characters who are living happily in a tower block in Mumbai despite the occasional shabbiness and state of repair of their apartments. Unfortunately, change is coming in the shape of a ruthless property developer called Dharmen Shah who offers a life-changing amount of money to the residents of...more
John
I'm a little surprised by many of the tepid reviews here. I was truly impressed with Aravind Adiga's ability to write a literate, plot-driven tragicomedy that manages to ask some big questions. The novel is funny, literate, bitter, and profound, and it deserves our attention and respect.

The plot is pretty straightforward. Occupants of a cooperative apartment building are offered a small fortune by a developer so he can tear their building down and build a new luxury apartment tower. However, the...more
Paula
Aravind Adiga, brinda-nos com o seu 3º romance “O Último Homem na Torre”. Uma história que nos mostra, uma vez mais, uma Índia corrupta, onde os interesses materiais sobrepõem-se aos valores humanos.
A narrativa desenvolve-se na Cooperativa Vishram à volta da qual bairros degradados crescem a uma velocidade atroz!
Os habitantes da Cooperativa, apesar da consciência daquilo que lhes cerca, mantêm-se com uma “respeitabilidade burguesa” no edifício que lhes é querido. Onde a água visita as torneiras...more
Mark Staniforth
You don't need some blogger to tell you India's in the middle of a seismic economic shift. Aravind Adiga's books encapsulate that change best of all. They're richly evocative of a rush to riches which seems as unstoppable as Mumbai's filthy, shit-strewn tide. With 'White Tiger', which won the Booker Prize in 2008, Adiga established himself indisputably as the voice of this newly modern India, shaking the caste system to its core and highlighting the endemic corruption and greed which blights suc...more
Silvia Iskandar
I admire Adiga's way of describing his character so meticulously, they all seemed so real. It's just that I don't like the way it ended. It was a bit flat for me. For a book that thick with that many characters, I was expecting some spectacular ending.

Or maybe the anticlimax after Masterji's death was too long that I expected something else was going to happen, and then it didn't. Maybe that's what made me feel disappointed.

I particularly like the paragrapraphs in:
1) page 74
Mrs Puri felt lighte...more
Sundarraj Kaushik
The city of Bombay, on one hand, has many old buildings many of which are dilapidated and on the verge of collapsing. To facilitate the rebuilding of such structures the government has formulated a law called Transfer of Development Rights by which the residents of the Housing Society of the building can transfer rights to a builder who will build a new building for them. To finance this project the builder will buy extra area (equal to the current area of flats that can be built on the land) fr...more
Fanatique Francaise
Adiga returns with a powerful, well-researched, and gripping novel about the underside of India.

I think I'm too young and inexperienced to really grasp the dark and almost scary picture that Adiga creates of Mumbai (India's industrial hub), but thankfully for me, he manifests that very chaos in the lives of the inhabitants of a building about to be torn down by a builder in his extravagant plans for expansion.. The conflict experienced by the inhabitants who are reluctant to let go of their live...more
Jaron
After enjoying The White Tiger so much, I was really looking forward to Adiga's second effort. Unfortunately, I think this is a case of the sophomore slump. The White Tiger was fast-paced with a compelling, somewhat evil, narrator and dark humor that fit in well with the plot and writing style. In this one, I think the dark humor was at odds with the more serious, ambitious tone. While the writing was good, the plot was meandering and most of the characters were uninteresting and, in at least on...more
Kathryn
Second books after initial early success are daunting to any young author. In Last Man in Tower, Adiga challenges himself with a Robert Altman-esque ensemble cast of character, each a member of an apartment building cooperative (a society). The plot? A ruthless developer offers the residents a vast amount of money to move, and slowly, these good people turn bad. Unfortunately, there are so many characters in the book that even though they are drawn well, the reader is not allowed to slowly savor...more
Petra
With subtlety, Aravind Adiga tells the story of an apartment building of home-owners offered the chance to sell their building to a developer and move onwards to find their new homes and/or dreams. But one man wants to stay. Slowly, his neighbours pressure him to change his mind.
None of this is a spoiler. It's all on the back of the book in the blurb.
What's surprising is how these people change in such slow, normal, understandable ways that their behaviour almost appears completely normal. Sca...more
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I want to buy "Last Man In Tower" by Aravind Adiga 1 19 Nov 10, 2012 11:31AM  
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Aravind Adiga was born in 1974 in Madras (now called Chennai), and grew up in Mangalore in the south of India. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford. His articles have appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2008...more
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The White Tiger Between the Assassinations

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“Nothing can stop a living thing that wants to be free” 15 likes
“A man's past keeps growing, even when his future has come to a full stop.” 12 likes
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