New Delhi, July 12: He grew up in Chennai and Mangalore and mentioned a lot about Delhi in his Booker-winning novel “The White Tiger” but for Aravind Adiga, Mumbai, which has the setting of his new novel, is his favourite city on earth.
“New Delhi has its charms - I love Chandni Chowk, Humayun's Tomb, the Sunday book market at Daryaganj, and the Lodi Gardens. But Mumbai is my favourite city on earth. One reason is that I grew up in Mangalore, which is near the ocean, so I have to be near the waves. From the time I came to Mumbai,” Adiga told PTI in an interview. His just released “Last Man in Tower” is a suspense-filled story of money and power, luxury and deprivation set in the Vishram Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai, close to the airport, under the flight path of 747s and bordered by slums.
According to the writer, Mumbai has made him what he is today. He came to the city in 2007 full of dreams like thousands of others.“Last Man in Tower”, published by HarperCollins' imprint Fourth Estate, tells about real estate developer Dharmen Shah who offers to buy out the residents of Vishram Society, planning to use the site to build a luxury apartment complex. 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.
Adiga now wants to concentrate on finishing his next novel. “I hope to finish another novel by October 2014, when I will turn 40. But, as my grandfather used to say, ‘Man Proposes, God Disposes',” he says.
Asked about whether the strong reaction from critics to “The White Tiger” had any effect on “Last Man in Tower”, he says, “I am aware that some readers in India were upset by ‘The White Tiger'. It was not my intention to hurt them. I've worked hard to make sure that no reasonable reader would be upset by ‘Last Man in Tower'. That said, I would be disappointed if some unreasonable people were not upset by it.”
Adiga doers not have any plan to attempt a non-fiction work at the moment. “In fact I've largely stopped writing non•fiction pieces,” the former journalist, who wrote a book of short stories before “The White Tiger” says. PTI