Archive for January 11th, 2012

Last Man in Tower

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

By Aravind Adiga

The Short Take:

This book is brilliant. It should be one for the ages, not only for the characters and plot but because it delivers insights on the India of right now — the good, the bad, and the “could go either way.” Loved it.

Why?

I had thoroughly enjoyed Adiga’s White Tiger but thought this novel was even better. It wasn’t as hard edged as his last novel, instead bringing the reader a much more nuanced and richer tale, populated by characters who are neither good nor bad but simply trying their best.

At first the multitude of characters felt overwhelming (possible exacerbated by the fact I was reading the book in ten minute intervals), but they were each so distinctly drawn that keeping them straight became no problem. And, they were such interesting characters: filled with conflicting emotions, able to reasonably decide on one course of action only to change direction dramatically based on a single flare of emotion.

The people in Adiga’s novel might live in a foreign world — with different customs, religions, and lifestyles — but you could understand their actions and motivations as if they lived right in your neighborhood.

A Little Plot:

Vishram Society Tower A is like a condo: all the tenants are joint owners. The building is deteriorating but their sense of community is strong. That is until a highly-motivated property developer offers the residents far more money for their flats than they are worth. Why? He wants to build the most prestigious apartment development around and he must have their land to do it.

For some, the money is a wished-for miracle. For others, the whole situation is highly questionable. By hook or crook, the developer convinces more people to sell; but there are still holdouts and the decision to sell Vishram Society Tower A must be unanimous.

That is when things get really interesting.

To visit the author’s website, click here. And put this book on your list to read. You don’t want to miss it.

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