Mumbai housing society setting for Adiga's second novel

Mumbai housing society setting for Adiga's second novel

The "Last Man in Tower", published by HarperCollins, is set for release on June 30.
"We are very excited about 'Last Man in Tower' and the pre-publicity campaign so far has resulted in brilliant orders," says Lipika Bhushan, who heads the marketing wing at HarperCollins India.

"There is a lot of promotional material in store that would catch attention and post the release there are media and outdoor TV campaigns planned to keep the momentum on," Bhusan told PTI.

According to the publishers, "Last Man in Tower" opens up the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of a great city - ordinary people pushed to their limits in a place that knows none.

Adiga, who won the 2008 Man Booker Prize for his debut work "The White Tiger", sets this novel in Vishram Cooperative Housing Society, close to the airport, under the flight path of 747s and bordered by slums.

When real estate developer Dharmen Shah offers to buy out the residents of Vishram Society, planning to use the site to build a luxury apartment complex, his offer is more than generous.

Initially, though, not everyone wants to leave; many of the residents have lived in Vishram for years, many of them are no longer young. But none can benefit from the offer unless all agree to sell.

As tensions rise among the once civil neighbours, one by one those who oppose the offer give way to the majority, until only one man stands in Shah's way - Masterji, a retired schoolteacher, once the most respected man in the building.

Shah is a dangerous man to refuse, but as the demolition deadline looms, Masterji's neighbours - friends who have become enemies, acquaintances turned co-conspirators - may stop at nothing to score their payday.

"He went back to bed. In the old days, his wife's tea and talk and perfume would wake him up. He closed his eyes... Hai-ya! Hai-ya!... Screams from down below. The two sons of Ajwani, the broker, began the morning by practising tae kwon do in full uniform in their living room," Adiga writes.

"Ajwani's boys were the athletic champions of the Society. The eldest, Ravi, had won a tremendous victory in the martial arts competition last year. As a gesture of the Society's gratitude, he was asked to dip his hand in kerosene and leave a memento of his victorious body on the front wall, where it could still be seen (or so everyone was sure), just above Mrs Saldanha's kitchen window."

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