The Year of the Runaways

3.84 based on 3603 ratings & 548 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 18.06.2015
ISBN: 9781447241676
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015

'A brilliant and beautiful novel' Kamila Shamsie, Guardian

'The Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century' Washington Post

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

Tolstoy and Steinbeck are not exaggerated comparisons for the sweep and power of Sahota’s second novel about five immigrant men living in England illegally and what they went through to get there
Boston Globe
Novels of such scope and invention are all too rare; unusual, too, are those of real heart, whose characters you grow to love and truly care for. The Year of the Runaways has it all. The action spans continents, taking in a vast sweep of politics, religion and immigration; it also examines with tenderness and delicacy the ties that bind us, whether to family, friends or fellow travellers. Judges of forthcoming literary prizes need look no further. [...] For sheer emotion and vertigo-inducing anxiety, the [closing] scene ranks with Tess putting the letter under Angel Clare's door, or Omar Sharif catching sight of Julie Christie on a moving bus in the film of Dr Zhivago. You cry because of the terribleness of it, but also because you just don't want this book to end. Sunjeev Sahota is an absolutely wonderful writer. It is amazing that this book, so rich, so absorbing, so deftly executed, should be only his second. I doubt if I'll read a better novel this year.
Spectator
The Year of the Runaways is never explicitly polemical, but is steered instead by humane morality. [. . .] Without flights of fancy, neither sensationalising nor preachy, its greatest asset is that it doesn't oversimplify. [. . .] Thoroughly believable, irresistibly humane and often funny.
Daily Telegraph