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Last Man in Tower | [Aravind Adiga]

Last Man in Tower

A riveting story of money and power, luxury and deprivation, set in the booming city of Mumbai. At the heart of this novel are two equally compelling men, poised for a showdown. Real-estate developer Dharmen Shah rose from nothing to create an empire and hopes to seal his legacy with a building named the Shanghai, which promises to be one of the city’s most elite addresses. Larger-than-life Shah is a dangerous man to refuse. But he meets his match in a retired schoolteacher called Masterji.
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Publisher's Summary

Searing. Explosive. Lyrical. Compassionate. Here is the astonishing new novel by the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger, a book that took rage and anger at injustice and turned it into a thrilling murder story. Now, with the same fearlessness and insight, Aravind Adiga broadens his canvas to give us a riveting story of money and power, luxury and deprivation, set in the booming city of Mumbai.

At the heart of this novel are two equally compelling men, poised for a showdown. Real-estate developer Dharmen Shah rose from nothing to create an empire and hopes to seal his legacy with a building named the Shanghai, which promises to be one of the city’s most elite addresses. Larger-than-life Shah is a dangerous man to refuse. But he meets his match in a retired schoolteacher called Masterji.

Shah offers Masterji and his neighbors—the residents of Vishram Society’s Tower A, a once respectable, now crumbling apartment building on whose site Shah’s luxury high-rise would be built—a generous buyout. They can’t believe their good fortune. Except, that is, for Masterji, who refuses to abandon the building he has long called home. As the demolition deadline looms, desires mount; neighbors become enemies, and acquaintances turn into conspirators who risk losing their humanity to score their payday.

Here is a richly told, suspense-fueled story of ordinary people pushed to their limits in a place that knows none: the new India as only Aravind Adiga could explore—and expose—it. Vivid, visceral, told with both humor and poignancy, Last Man in Tower is his most stunning work yet.

©2011 Aravind Adiga (P)2011 Random House

What the Critics Say

"As with The White Tiger, [in Last Man in Tower] Adiga describes an India that is avaricious, acquisitive and insecure. His earlier work told the story of a desperate, rural poverty; Last Man in Tower depicts a genteel middle-class impoverishment of imagination and hope. Whether it is through the fight for water or the battle to board the commuter trains, Mr. Adiga captures with heartbreaking authenticity the real struggle in Indian cities, which is for dignity. A funny yet deeply melancholic work, Last Man in Tower is a brilliant, and remarkably mature, second novel. A rare achievement." (The Economist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (83 )
5 star
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3.9 (66 )
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  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 04-21-12
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 04-21-12 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Witty, Sad, Outrageous"

    I picked up this audioibook because 1) I enjoyed Adiga's first novel, The White Tiger, and 2) the synopsis reminded me of several other books I've enjoyed that center on the residents of an Indian apartment complex, notably Manil Suri's The Death of Vishnu. At first, the novel seems to fall into a similar category, revealing the various personlities and daily interactions of the diverse residents with a wry humor. But their generally peaceful relationships are disrupted by the offer from a developer who wants to tear down Tower A and Tower B. Initially, most of the residents of Tower A want to accept what seems to be a generous offer; but a few holdouts either suspect the builder's honesty or see no reason to leave the place where they have lived contentedly. The problem is that, under their rules, 100% of the residents must agree to sell. Using first logic, then legal technicalities, then bullying and rumors, then threats, the builder's henchman and the residents persuade all but one man to sign the agreement. At this point, any humor that remains is very dark, indeed.

    Adiga seems to be making a comment about the extent of human greed, especially in a cramped former 'third world' city (Mumbai) where prosperity has flourished more rapidly than such values as morality, empathy, justice, and a sense of community can allow. Tower A began to remind me of a colony of rats trapped in a sewer, climbing over one another to reach the only means of escape and resorting to the most primitive enactment of survival of the fittest. It's to Adiga's credit that he creates characters that are, initially, so likable, as this only makes the metamorphoses wrought by greed more despicable. His epilogue shows that, sadly, these changes were more than tranistory--perhaps a reflection on the changes success is bringing to the national character. If there is any light for humanity in the ending, it is in the fact that one character, over the course of what occurs, seems to have found a conscience.

    While I wouldn't rate Last Man in Tower as a "must read" book, readers who enjoyed The White Tiger or any of the many other books written in recent years that deal with the changing economic, social, and political landscape of modern India would probably find it worth their time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novels Too St. Louis, MO 11-23-11
    Novels Too St. Louis, MO 11-23-11 Member Since 2007

    Linda

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Last Man in Tower"

    Powerful story, but I really did not like the narrator chosen for this audio reading. He just seemed too forced and fake, especially in reading the female characters. I found it very annoying. A major distraction to the story, overall. He barely sounds Indian. A narrator can make or break an audio book for me. This is one book that I would have much preferred reading the actual book. The narrator fo White Tiger was much more convincing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Loewenstern Colorado 10-25-11
    Karen Loewenstern Colorado 10-25-11 Member Since 2003

    Friend of Woz

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    19
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    "Modern life in India, the good and the not so good"

    I loved the story, and the narration. I was a little put off by the indian accent at first, but then really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Reno, NV, United States 09-28-11
    Charles Reno, NV, United States 09-28-11 Member Since 2011
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    "have seen better"

    Ok. The narration was hard to follow. I know Indian accents very well but it was overdone to the point that it was interfering with the enjoyment of the book. And what about the plot and characters: it seems like this book has been compiled by borrowing plots from different bollywood movies over the last few decades. And only the dark sides. There are better books about India than this. The White Tiger was definitely better than this. I am not expecting much depth from this author anymore

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ELIZABETH troy, MI, United States 09-24-11
    ELIZABETH troy, MI, United States 09-24-11 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Loved it"

    I really enjoyed the first two. Last man has deep character studies. Very rewarding read!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cityreader Chicago, IL 01-20-13
    cityreader Chicago, IL 01-20-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great storyteller"

    the narration was wearing on me a bit during the first half, wondering if this would be as good as white tiger, but I was completely hooked in the second.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 01-26-12
    Debra 01-26-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"
    What disappointed you about Last Man in Tower?

    I loved White Tiger. I do not know if I love the Last Man in Tower because I could not stand the narration of this book. The voices were so exagerrated and unpleasant that I gave up listening. I will have to


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ajit WESTFORD, MA, United States 12-26-11
    Ajit WESTFORD, MA, United States 12-26-11 Listener Since 2008
    ratings
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    "very dissapointing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you are an indian or have been to india or have seen a single bollywood movie...nothing in this book will seem original. I have said the same thing about the


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Horrible. Same accented voice for multiple characters. And stereotyped voices.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cookie box piqua, ohio 10-07-11
    cookie box piqua, ohio 10-07-11 Member Since 2003

    creative cook

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "indian philosophy"

    Very interesting plot and psychological probe of the Indian mind. Takes contemplation to understand the underlying morality of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Baltimore, md, United States 12-23-12
    Helen Baltimore, md, United States 12-23-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Human nature. Watch out"
    What did you love best about Last Man in Tower?

    Great storytelling. Amazing character development


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No favorite. They were all fascinating


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Some scenes were shocking


    Any additional comments?

    I don't like to give away the story

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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