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.
"The Year of the Runaways is a brilliant and beautiful novel." (Kamila Shamsie, Guardian)
"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." (Cressida Connolly, Spectator)
"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." (Emily Dugan, Independent on Sunday)
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Maybe easier to read than to listen to.
I didn't read it. But for me, it was a difficult book to listen to though I was interested in what Sahota had to say about a soul crushing problem. I really couldn't keep track of the characters.
Shown not told
The author forces you to pay attention to details by not explaining. It's refreshing: you must learn like a child or a foreigner. The story is tense and dramatic. Wonderful, really. The best novel I've read in a long, long time. The ending was a tad weak, but that can be forgiven.
Oh God, I don't know. Everything was interconnected.
It was just perfect. Inflected with an Indian accent but easy to understand. He stayed out of the way, didn't overdo it as some readers do.
I don't know what a tag line is.
Sahota takes Americans to absolutely new places.