34 Readers
17 Sages

shell pebble

How to destroy community

Last Man in Tower - Aravind Adiga

Adiga's constellation of Vishram Society inhabitants are well furnished with religious backgrounds, family histories, personalities and motives, but efforts to foresee the twists in the tale are foiled by human unpredictability. Heroes and villains reveal unexpected facets throughout; the murderer finds a conscience; the friend tears up the token and changes sides; the loving mother goes absolutely all the way for her disabled son...

On reflection, I've come back to thinking how it's structures that matter; what structures enable fellow-feeling, what kinds of structure erode it? How does imperialist capitalism atomise people and colonise their will?

Behind these overlapping wires she saw banyan trees; all of which were hemmed in by the fencing; except for one greying ancient, whose aerial roots, squirming through barbed wire and broken glass, dripped down the wall like primordial ooze until their bright growing tips, nearly touching the pavement, brushed against a homeless family cooking rice in the shade; and with each root-tip that had beaten the barbed wire the old banyan said: nothing can stop a living thing that wants to be free.