Released on 18 June 2015.

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The Year of the Runaways

3.85 based on 4321 ratings & 617 reviews on Goodreads.com

2016 Short-listed

International Dylan Thomas Prize

2016 Winner

South Bank Sky Arts Awards Literature Award

2016 Winner

Encore Award

2015 Short-listed

Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award

2015 Short-listed

Man Booker Prize

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 chaotic 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

The Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century . . . We know — from Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck — how such a monumental social novel should work. But the great marvel of this book is its absolute refusal to grasp at anything larger than the hopes and humiliations of these few marginal people. With that tight focus, the story’s critique of inequality, racism and economic slavery remains entirely implicit, but no less devastating. Instead of speed, it offers precision, gathering small morsels of spoiled hope until the story’s momentum feels absolutely overwhelming.
Washington Post
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
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