Michael's Reviews > Last Man in Tower

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga
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Feb 21, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 08 to 22, 2012

After having previously read Adiga's wonderful "White Tiger" I was concerned about being disappointed by this his latest book. I was not. This one was every bit as good as that one was. Adiga writes with such wonderful understanding of human relationships in the complex Indian social strata. Whereas White Tiger was about a low born man scraping his way to the top by whatever means necessary in a dog eat dog manner, this book concerns the struggle among a group of middle class Indians coming to terms with their own aspirations and the corrupt means they have to employ and the values they are confronted with selling out.
The group lives in a fairly worn down cooperative condominium type building in Mumbai called Vishram Society. They are all relatively well off compared to their nearby slum dwelling neighbors. But one day they are approached by an ambitious, self made property developer named Dharmen Shah who wants to buy them out to develop a new luxury Shangri-La building. Shah is much like the lead character from white Tiger. He is fair minded towards the Vishram residents and offers them much more than their property is worth to get them to sell it to him. The cooperative charter says that all residents must agree to any sale or they cannot go forward. After some initial suspicion and reluctance, all of the residents are agreeable but one 61 year old widower named Masterji. He is trying to hold on to his memories of the past and refuses to budge. Shah is determined to use whatever methods necessary to fulfill his dreams so he and his "left hand" man begin to work on the residents to persuade Masterji to accept the offer. One by one we see the relationships and values of each of the families deteriorate as their dreams of a better life overcome their concerns for each other and they turn on Masterji.
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