Ios paperback review: Last Man in Tower, By Aravind Adiga


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The Independent Culture

Property magnate Dharmen Shah wants to demolish an ageing tower block full of ageing residents to build a block of luxury apartments in Mumbai.

Shah offers life-changing sums of money to shift the residents. Most are ready to bite his hand off, but four people demur. The offer can't be accepted unless the residents are unanimous: pressure slowly builds on the resisters to accept, until finally only one man, the retired teacher Masterji, holds out .... The novel evokes a rich, complex, buzzing society in the throes of change, with a huge cast of colourful characters, from the wealthy to the down-and-dirty. The story has something in common with Dürrenmatt's play The Visit, with its sense of the gradual isolation of one character within a community. A big, fat, juicy, memorable read.