When Push Comes To Shove
The ostensible setting of Aravind Adiga's new novel Last Man in Tower is Mumbai, but the real setting is the ensemble cast of characters that live in Vishram Society's Tower A . . . and against this back-drop of people contemplating the most awkward and practical of subjects -- money and class in a country where both are on display constantly-- building developer Dharmen Shah squares off against retired physics teacher Yogesh "Masterji" Murthy . . . Shah has offered the residents of the building cooperative a generous buy-out so that he can knock their crumbling building down and build an elite apartment complex, and nearly everyone is happy to accept the windfall, but Murthy does not want to desert his home and the place where all his memories reside, and once he is pushed, he proves to be an immoveable object; the book is reminiscent of Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, but Adiga builds his pedestrian and generally comic conflict over real estate and money to tragically dramatic proportions-- he makes his social commentary into a page turner . . . the Indian Tom Wolfe . . . 20.2 million hammers out of a possible 20.4 million.