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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Last Man in Tower

Aravind Adiga

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase Last Man in Tower

Title: Last Man in Tower
Author: Aravind Adiga
Genre: Novel
Written: 2011
Length: 432 pages
Availability: Last Man in Tower - US
Last Man in Tower - UK
Last Man in Tower - Canada
Last Man in Tower - India
Letzter Mann im Turm - Deutschland

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Haven't got a copy yet; only due out in US in September, 2011

Chances that we will review it:


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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Age . 25/6/2011 Christopher Cyrill
The Age . 9/7/2011 Andrew Riemer
The Australian . 4/6/2011 Jose Borghino
The Economist A+ 21/7/2011 .
Entertainment Weekly A- 14/9/2011 Keith Staskiewicz
Evening Standard D 16/6/2011 Nirpal Dhaliwal
Financial Times . 17/6/2011 Vikas Swarup
The Guardian B+ 15/6/2011 Alex Clark
The Independent . 15/7/2011 James Urquhart
Independent on Sunday . 12/6/2011 Peter Carty
The National A 29/7/2011 Alan White
The Observer . 26/6/2011 James Purdon
Outlook India . 25/7/2011 Kalpish Ratna
The Scotsman A 5/6/2011 Allan Massie
The Spectator . 25/6/2011 Justin Cartwright
The Telegraph . 8/6/2011 Mark Sanderson
The Telegraph . 17/6/2011 Ceri Radford
TLS . 22/7/2011 Rozalind Dineen
The Washington Post A 19/9/2011 Marcela Valdes

  Review Consensus:


  From the Reviews:
  • "Adiga's novel is meticulous, constructed in layers of interconnecting detail and the language is reminiscent of early Naipaul." - Christopher Cyrill, The Age

  • "(A) passionate indictment of the social and ethical bankruptcy of contemporary India, particularly Mumbai. (...) I don't know, of course, whether Adiga consciously took Dickens for a model but in structure, tone, attitudes and in its sharp, at times caricatured portraits of a large cast of characters, Last Man in Tower is strikingly Dickensian. Now and then, Adiga even mirrors some of Dickens's stylistic devices." - Andrew Riemer, The Ag

  • "It won't spoil the plot to say that, in the end, Adiga delivers a mixed portrait of Mumbai. His writing vibrates with the energy of the city. It's full of Indian words and slang and, paradoxically, at its most evocative and affectionate when describing the garbage on which Mumbai is built and the pollution it generates. The result is an ironic saga that's morally and ethically engaged, without being judgmental about characters as they do whatever it takes to survive the chaos of Maximum City." - Jose Borghino, The Australian

  • "A funny yet deeply melancholic work, Last Man in Tower is a brilliant, and remarkably mature, second novel. A rare achievement." - The Economist

  • "Adiga -- the author of the Man Booker-winning The White Tiger -- maps out, in luminous prose, India's ambivalence toward its accelerated growth, while creating an engaging protagonist in the stubborn resident" - Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly

  • "Unlike Mishra and Roy, his need to preach has found expression in his novelistic career rather than distracting him from it, providing the fuel now for a third novel that does little more than sneer and linger over the problems of living in the Third World. (...) This may have worked well as a short story, a tenth of the length, but at more than 400 pages, it is a laborious and needless read. The characters are, at best, two-dimensional." - Nirpal Dhaliwal, Evening Standard

  • "Adigaís new novel is more contemplative than his Booker-winning The White Tiger, with its voluble, bombastic protagonist. Reflections on life in Mumbai are embellished with acute observations and sharp imagery (.....) Like all cautionary tales, it embodies more than a little truth about our times." - Vikas Swarup, Financial Times

  • "Adiga skilfully poses these problems and equally skilfully frustrates our attempts to answer them. (...) Last Man in Tower can tend slightly towards the schematic -- as each resident falls inexorably under Shah's spell, the novel risks concentrating its power in the suspense of whether Masterji will triumph or eventually be subsumed by peer pressure, external threat, or both. But Adiga also manages to thicken his narrative with a subtle and nuanced examination of the nature of personal corruption -- more subtle, in fact, than in his powerfully scathing first novel, The White Tiger" - Alex Clark, The Guardian

  • "Aravind Adiga's vibrant third novel has the simple urgency of a thriller populated by a garrulous and opinionated throng of neighbours (.....) Scrupulous avoidance of stereotype adds depth, and Adiga's delicious prose (...) ensures that his latest offering delivers a provocative plot with mischievous eloquence." - James Urquhart, The Independent

  • "Last Man in Tower retains The White Tiger's dynamism and adds some of the finesse of Between the Assassinations. When it comes to plot, Adiga takes no chances, baiting no fewer than three hooks. (...) Adiga lays out this most frenetic of megalopolises before us, by turns fascinating, sensual and horrifying, as his writing takes an impressive step onwards." - Peter Carty, Independent on Sunday

  • "It's not a perfect book. (...). But these are spots on the sun. It's one of the best novels I've read in years." - Alan White, The National

  • "The attempt to impose meaning begins to seem a little incongruous in the last 50 pages or so, as Last Man in Tower shifts in tone to become a darker and more troubling story about the corruption bred by greed in otherwise healthy and tightly knit communities. (...) Picking through this detritus as it begins to overwhelm his characters, Adiga constructs an unsettling, if rather unsettled, novel" - James Purdon, The Observer

  • "With Last Man In Tower, Malgudi metrosexual hits Mumbai, and reports on the reality the city has been living through this past decade. (...) Deep within this plethoric novel is a good book. A better editor might have coaxed it out of the closet by persuading the writer to be less coy with the delete key. This book is embedded in other books, the stratigraphy is pretty evident. From a solid bedrock of R.K. Narayan and Kamala Markandeya to more recent alluvium, every Indian writer has representation here. One could, I suppose, dust this off as homage, but really, Mr Adiga -- get a life !" - Kalpish Ratna, Outlook India

  • "So much is going on; there are so many characters, whose lives and family histories have been thoroughly imagined and developed; and there is, again, a characteristically Victorian range in its treatment of various social levels and willingness to pose and examine questions of personal and social morality. It is a novel of our times but also a determinedly old-fashioned one -- and none the worse for that. (...) This is a very fine novel, wonderfully rich in detail and the evocation of everyday life. It is a social novel full of memorable individuals. It has a range, ambition and humanity which one rarely finds in contemporary British or US fiction" - Allan Massie, The Scotsman

  • "This is a state of the nation novel or more accurately a state of Mumbai novel. (...) As he sets out the fault lines both in the Society and in Mumbai, Adiga is writing a consciously Dickensian novel, so that slum dwellers, criminals, police, immigrants, lawyers and fruit-sellers have their rich say. (...) The novel is comic, lyrical and serious by turns, but I do have a nagging sense that Adiga is playing to the audience in the same way that Dickens did, writing ingratiating rather than precise prose; often as I read this I thought of Dickens, both his strengths and his weaknesses" - Justin Cartwright, The Spectator

  • "Last Man in Tower, in its dizzying portrait of Mumbai, contains plenty of comedy and dark humour." - Mark Sanderson, The Telegraph

  • "Adiga offers a convincing if grim glimpse of human nature as these upstanding residents then turn on one another like stoats in a sack, maddened with greed and the prospect of losing their promised riches. His writing is rich and lush (...) if, at times, lacking in subtlety. (...) A lighter touch may have been more powerful. Still, Adiga succeeds in breathing life into an array of characters" - Ceri Radford, The Telegraph

  • "In brief, effective strokes, Aravind Adiga conjures Tower A, a building that leaks and moans alongside its inhabitants who, thanks to thin walls and ceilings, live in a particularly communal fashion." - Rozalind Dineen, Times Literary Supplement

  • "Funny, provocative and decadent: Aravind Adigaís Last Man in Tower is the kind of novel thatís so richly insightful about business and character that itís hard to know where to begin singing its praises. (...) Adigaís novel isnít perfect. (...) But these are small flaws compared with the novelís many delights and its unusually evenhanded take on urban development." - Marcela Valdes, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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Last Man in Tower: Reviews: Aravind Adiga: Other books Aravind Adiga under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Indian literature

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About the Author:

       Indian author Aravind Adiga was born in 1974. He attended Columbia and Oxford universities, and worked for Time.

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© 2011 the complete review

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