Last Man in Tower
Vintage, 2012 (2011)
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Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
ravind Adiga dazzled us with his
The White Tiger
, and now once again, he brings contemporary India colorfully to life. The real estate developer Shah has set his sights on a new development in exactly the place where a dilapidated apartment building is barely hanging on.
hah offers generous terms to the apartment's neighbors, but one of them, a retired school teacher recently widowed, cannot bear to move and miss the memories of his beloved wife and also deceased daughter. While following the lengths to which his neighbors will go to ensure that Shah's offer is not refused, we are treated to a picture of Indian society with all its complexity, corruption and contradictions.
ith rich language and engaging characters, all of whom are too human to be purely evil or good, the novel skewers a society trying to be modern but which in so doing has neglected to take account of the difference between development and progress. This is a picture of a place that, as one critic (Alan Cheuse, San Franciso Chronicle) has put it, '
turns out to be awfully familiar.
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