Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

last-man-in-towerUK300When a community divides…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

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.

Aravind Adiga (www.bbc.co.uk)
Aravind Adiga
(www.bbc.co.uk)

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 was my favourite book of 2011 and winner of that year’s FictionFan Award, the prize for which, as regular readers may know, is that I guarantee to read the author’s next book. I’m still waiting, Mr Adiga!

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

14 thoughts on “Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

  1. Oh, this sounds like a terrific read! I really enjoy these in-depth multilevel stories where you feel the atmosphere of a place and its characters. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I’m another one pressing you to read Mistry who I think is one of the finest writers living.

    I must be the only person I know who didn’t enjoy ‘White Tiger’ so I have been studiously avoiding this. You almost persuade me to change my mind.

    • Having loved this so much, I backtracked to read The White Tiger, and while I enjoyed it and thought it skilfull, I didn’t think it came even close to the warmth and humanity of this one. I was rather glad I read them the ‘wrong’ way round – had I read The White Tiger first, I might not have read this one.

      Persuaded? 😉

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