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Last Man in Tower

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  7,053 ratings  ·  744 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 2011)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  7,053 ratings  ·  744 reviews

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Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, literary
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
Usman Hickmath
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A ruthless property developer offers an attractive buyout to the people living in a crumbling 50 years old apartment building located in a prime land in Mumbai where he plans to build a high rise to make a killing. All the families in the building accept the offer except Yogesh Murthi, a retired teacher known as Masterji, who wants to live there with the memories of his deceased wife. The story goes on to tell what happened to Masterji and the building.

In this well written story Adiga explores t
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: desi-authors, india
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
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"A man who does not want: who has no secret spaces in his heart into which a little more cash can be stuffed, what kind of man is that?"

The very protagonist of this, Adiga's second novel. Prose wise, we are in the same articulate hands, good ones that transport and convey empathy for all his characters. This modern-India version of Old Goirot, replete with the apartments and the drama, most of which occurs within the family. But wait! Modern times ask for desperate drastic measures. And then the
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is the worst book I read in 2015! I really like to give books a go before I will trash them or stop reading them but and I gave this book all the chances but each time I kept hating it. It's very rare that I'll pick up a book and not understand the storyline but this book consistently had me scratching my head and wondering what the heck I'd just read.

There are too many characters in this book and none of them are easy to keep a track on as the author likes to chop and change so randomly I
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Spoiler Alert!

Worth a read. The story is no suspense and all it takes for you to guess it is just to take a look at the contents page!
It is brilliantly written in parts but it has many flaws.

1. It is not as good as the white tiger
2. It is damn depressing at times
3. The book unnecessarily flows for more than 400 pages when there are no surprising events. The writing ain't good enough to arrest your attention either!
4. Logical flaws. When masterji actually refuses only because of the Pintos, when
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

- George Orwell

After reading the author's Booker Prize winner "The White Tiger", I had a lot of expectations from this one which, unfortunately, it failed to stand up to.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it

“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
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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,
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you want your faith in humanity shattered...yes
Recommended to Adira by: Required Reading
I gave this book four stars not because I was head over heels in love with it, but because it lead me to have profound thoughts about the condition of humanity. While this book was required reading for me in generaladuate school, there were many times when I wanted to throw it clear across the room out of frustration and anger at the characters' actions.

For a full review, visit my blog, ...On The Shelf.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Beth (bibliobeth)
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Vidya Tiru
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An Evil Masterstroke

A human mind like this world is beautiful, intelligent and a miracle only God could create. Adiga cuts open this world and human mind and the innards spattered and smashed, bones and flesh cracked and torn, black red blood squishing and merging with the filth of this earth, creating a grotesque and disgusting feeling inside you. He bares the human body and mind like the inside is out but that doesn't mean that inside is beautiful. His only theory is that given a circumstance,
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
'Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga' is a contemporary novel set in 2008 Bombay or Mumbai's Vakola. A witty commentary on Mumbai or Bombay's growing urbanisation.
People at Vishram Society are living from more than a decade. A society which lacks modernisation. With a bad drainage system, chipped walls, and neighbours who always have ears in each others' home, the book draws our attention to Maharashtra's growing real estate business which has a humungous money flow but in a right way? That's th
Jennifer Flanagan
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book reminded me why Aravind Adiga is my favorite fiction author... not that I needed the reminder!

“Mrs. Puri felt lighter. She envied Kudwa his happy family life—just as she knew he in secret envied Ajwani for owning a Toyota Qualis; just as Ajwani probably envied someone else; and this chain of envy linked them, showing each what was lacking in life, but offering also the consolation that happiness was present right next door, in the life of a neighbour, an element of the same Society.”

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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Book set in india about the different lives of residents in a apartment. [s] 5 646 Oct 22, 2019 02:08PM  
Desire and lack 1 2 Apr 22, 2018 11:02PM  
I want to buy "Last Man In Tower" by Aravind Adiga 1 21 Nov 10, 2012 11:31AM  
Masterji was a jerk? 6 60 Sep 14, 2012 07:18AM  

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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 debut novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2008 ...more

Articles featuring this book

The chronicler of modern India discusses his new work, Last Man in Tower, about a retired schoolteacher who refuses to vacate an old building...
24 likes · 7 comments
“Nothing can stop a living thing that wants to be free” 28 likes
“A man's past keeps growing, even when his future has come to a full stop.” 22 likes
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