Atlantic £7.99 (419pp) £7.59 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Last Man In Tower, By Aravind Adiga
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 09 March 2012
Like the impromptu cricket shots on crowded Juhu beach, "what is squirming, quicksilver, heterodox thrives" in Mumbai. So how, in this flashy, reckless, go-getting Indian metropolis, can a man like "Masterji" survive?
A retired teacher, widowed, he lives his old-school values as "sovereign of your plot of earth" – or rather, as third-floor denizen of the Vishram Society flats in the airport suburb of Santa Cruz. A property tycoon offers tower-dwellers a fortune to quit; Masterji alone holds out.
From this premise, Adiga builds a funny, tender, satirical and hugely readable panorama of changing lives in one spot that in some ways trumps Lanchester's Capital. Last year's strange Man Booker panel scorned it. For every other reader, an all-round treat awaits.
Arts & Ents blogs
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakes in bed one night to discover that the yew tree outside his house has ...
It’s hard not to feel sorry for doe-eyed Andy. He spends months pining after Louise, has huge nostr...
Fragility of life looms large over an episode that closes with the scarring on Julie's stomach. Whil...
- 1 Freedom fighters? Cannibals? The truth about Syria’s rebels
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Special Report: US troops are stationed in Japan to protect the nation. But to sex workers in Okinawa, they bring fear, not security
- 4 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
- 5 Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria