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Last Man in Tower
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New or Used: 25 copies from $15.57
Every building tells a story: but in the jungle of Mumbai, one building - and one man - stands on the borderline between India's past, and its future .Ask any Bombaywallah about Vishram Society - 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, under the flight path of 747s and bordered by slums, it has been pucca for some fifty years. But 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 development and new money; of wealthy Indians returning with fortunes made abroad.When real estate developer Dharmen Shah offers to buy out the residents of Vishram Society, planning to use the site to build a luxury apartment complex, his offer is more than generous. Initially, though, not everyone wants to leave; many of the residents have lived in Vishram for years, many of them are no longer young. But none can benefit from the offer unless all agree to sell. As tensions rise among the once civil neighbours, one by one those who oppose the offer give way to the majority, until only one man stands in Shah's way: Masterji, a retired schoolteacher, once the most respected man in the building. Shah is a dangerous man to refuse, but as the demolition deadline looms, Masterji's neighbours - friends who have become enemies, acquaintances turned co-conspirators - may stop at nothing to score their payday.A suspense-filled story of money and power, luxury and deprivation; a rich tapestry peopled by unforgettable characters, not least of which is Bombay itself, Last Man in Tower opens up the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of a great city - ordinary people pushed to their limits in a place that knows none.
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Promotional Information

The magnificent new novel from the million-selling Booker Prize-winner: one of the most eagerly anticipated literary novels of 2011. 'Extraordinary and brilliant... Adiga is a real writer - that is to say, someone who forges an original voice and vision.' Sunday Times

About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974. He studied at Columbia and Oxford universities. A former India correspondent for Time magazine, his articles have also appeared in publications including the Financial Times, Independent and the Sunday Times. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, as was his short-story collection Between the Assassinations (2009).

Reviews

"'Extraordinary and brilliant... Adiga is a real writer - that is to say, someone who forges an original voice and vision.' Sunday Times"

When Mumbai was still Bombay, the apartment building became the new village, inhabitants growing up and old together, intertwined in one another's rhythms and needs. Tower A of the Vishram Society is one such building-both a character and the setting in this highly allegorical yet riveting novel, Adiga's first since winning the Man Booker Prize for The White Tiger. Here, Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Communists have lived together for decades, finding recent common ground in their suspicions about the new "modern" single girl in 3B. But when a developer offers each resident an astronomical sum to move out so that he might build a luxury condo, greed threatens to destroy the community. But one holdout, the teacher Mr. Masterji, is determined that knowledge and principle will protect him. Though occasionally overwritten ("The hypodermic needle of the outside world had bent at his epidermis and never penetrated"), Adiga is a master of pacing. The momentum builds as Masterji's neighbors become consumed by money, allowing Adiga to show his characters grappling with circumstances, and enduring difficult changes of heart. Adiga takes a harsh look at Mumbai's new wealth, but his characters are more than archetypes. Though the allure of capitalism has won them over, the inhabitants of Tower A are at the mercy of the rich as much as their neighbor, the teacher, is at the mercy of them. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Adiga, author of the highly acclaimed White Tiger, returns with this morality tale about events at a respectable, solidly middle-class building in Mumbai. The veneer of respectability and hard-earned bonhomie falls away after the residents-Hindu, Christian, and Muslim-are offered a windfall by an unscrupulous real estate developer who wants them to move. It is a credit to the author that the reader manages to keep straight the large cast of unforgettable and all-too-believable characters. One resident, retired teacher and widower Masterji, holds out purely on principle-or is it for some other reason even he doesn't understand? In the end, there are no heroes in this viper's nest of competing desires and petty jealousies, as the residents' uglier natures are gradually revealed in the face of their greed and disappointment. The swarming oceanfront metropolis of Mumbai, in various stages of development and decay, functions as a character in its own right. VERDICT You won't be able to look away as the novel hurtles toward its inevitable train wreck of a conclusion in this stunner from Adiga. [See Prepub Alert, 2/28/11.]-Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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