The Year of the Runaways

3.84 based on 3310 ratings & 517 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 18.06.2015
ISBN: 9781447241669
Number of pages: 480

Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015

'A brilliant and beautiful novel' Kamila Shamsie, Guardian

The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance. Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day, Sunjeev Sahota's generous, unforgettable novel is - as with Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance - a story of dignity in the face of adversity and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

In the media

A wonderfully evocative storyteller.
Independent
If you think literature is at its best when it combines the political with the personal, this is the perfect book for you. Sunjeev Sahota humanizes harrowing news headlines in the most intimate way; stories about migrant workers and so-called "Untouchables" are carefully captured with painterly details and empathy. The characters — three Indian men and a British-Indian woman they meet as they emigrate from India to England — lodged in my brain and stayed there, months after I put this book down to engage with others that I soon forgot . . . an important story about duty and love, beautifully told
NPR
An ideal antidote to a year of reductive discussions of immigration, Sunjeev Sahota's novel takes you deep into the lives of a group of Indian labourers thrown together in Sheffield. Deftly shifting in time and place, Sahota builds a portrait of the often painful circumstances that lead these men to abandon life in India for this cold, damp city, in the hope of starting afresh. This is Sahota's second novel. His first, Ours Are the Streets, was an acutely observed story of a young man's shift from ordinary British Pakistani teenager to Muslim radical. The Year of the Runaways is no less accomplished in its lyrical prose and ability to immerse the reader in the experiences of a hidden community in Britain . . . It is a testament to Sahota's accomplished characterisation that he maintains sympathy with the men even after they commit crimes and take advantage of others
Independent on Sunday