Skip to main content

Last Man In Tower - Aravind Adiga

I want to make a confession. Last Man In Tower is by far one of the best books I have read by an Indian author. The fact that I can personally relate to the theme of the book has of course made this book a prized treasure.

The book addresses the phenomenon of redevelopment projects that took Mumbai by storm some years ago and till date it is not uncommon to see the reconstruction of old, dilapidated buildings in the city. New buildings, modern facilities, appreciation of property value – What’s not to like? You ask. As we all know, with change comes uncertainty and when that change threatens to encroach upon our home, our very own personal haven, it is bound to create resistance which can take many forms and often lead to harmful consequences to those harbouring this state of mind.

In ‘Last Man in Tower’, Adiga effectively narrates the journey that individuals go through when faced with a redevelopment project of their own home. As is common knowledge, the most popular means of housing in Mumbai is within buildings or apartments. Therefore, redevelopment will rarely be of one single flat but of the whole building. Consequently, dealing with a group of people and the associated dynamics is inevitable. Negotiation, politics, greed, emotional blackmail, consensus building; Name it and you can identify some form or other of human dynamics in this surge of transition and the process that leads to it.

So who is this Last Man in Tower? When property developer Dharmen Shah approaches the residents of Tower A, Vishram Society with what looks like a generous offer of redevelopment, the residents of course have varying responses. After much negotiation and cajoling, all except one resident is amenable to this grand master plan. He is Masterji, a retired school teacher and one of Vishram’s most humble and respected residents. Although the story focuses on whether or not Masterji will finally surrender to this offer of redevelopment it also explores the circumstances of the various other residents of Vishram. It sheds light on the camaraderie among neighbours and at the same time demonstrates how in the time of change and uncertainty trust becomes such a delicate matter.

Adiga through his writing, helps you visualise quite easily the setting of Vishram society and the characteristics of its various residents. You can understand their thought processes and also feel the emotions they experience at key stages in the story.

As you would have already guessed, I can go on and on about this book and I strongly believe that no amount of words will do justice to it. It’s no wonder then that ‘Last Man in Tower’ has bagged the Man Booker Prize in 2008. Take a bow Aravind Adiga, we need more writers like you to stimulate our minds today.


Popular posts from this blog

Sab Moha Maya Hai - For The Sake of Valentine's Day!

14th February, Valentine’s Day. A day we are told we must “celebrate” as it epitomises this wonderful emotion that we as humans are capable of – Love.

“So, what are your plans for the day?” I was asked this question about a million times today and all I said was “Oh! I don’t know, I’m very unromantic!” to which I got responses like “But it’s the day of love” or “Come on! you need to celebrate love!” and so on. Having reflected upon this small talk that people often engage in to ease the awkward silences, I felt the need to put my thoughts to paper about the difference between romance and love as I find the two are often confused- one for the other. Romance is an expression of love, not love itself. Love is when you consistently strive for the wellbeing of another despite it causing you discomfort or pain. It is unconditional, not based on trivialities like tokens of affection which have sadly come to become measures of the extent of love. If you buy me a cake, you love me 30%, a design…

Flesh and Bone and Water - Luiza Sauma

I was delighted to receive this book for review from Penguin UK. Having grown up with memories of the Penguin logo in almost every bookshop I visited, it felt wonderful to be recognised as a reviewer by this world renowned publishing house. 'Flesh and Bone and Water' has nothing to do with South Asia. However, the commonality it shares with the region is that it is set in Brazil, a place that is often referred to as also being part of the 'third world' group of nations. "It's easy to leave a place when you're young. Coming back is harder. That's my advice : stay where you are." And so begins this beautiful novel which I would term as part coming of age and part an immigrant's journey from Brazil to Londres (London). More importantly why does the protagonist Andre venture back on a journey to his childhood home? The author Luiza Sauma has very poignantly narrated the story in first person so it feels like Andre is telling you his own story. You…

Serving Crazy With Curry - Amulya Malladi

Food! - That wonderful part of our existence that not only plays the essential role of providing daily sustenance but is also an archetype of culture and tradition. For me, food is a meaningful catalyst to creating unforgettable memories and associations. There are certain foods that I associate with certain events or significant people in my life. I also seek comfort in food be it a hot bowl of dal rice after a hard day at work or a sneaky piece of chocolate as a reward for achieving something (Yes, I do apply the principles of behavioural psychology to my own life!)
I first came across Amulya Malladi’s books in London’s local libraries. I was impressed that her books are well stocked which is an indication of their popularity. I read a couple of these books and soon found out the reason for this. Two words – Writing and Characters! Her writing is immensely engaging and her characters threaten to come alive page by page. This certainly applies to ‘Serving Crazy with Curry’.
Devi, our …