- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan India (9 September 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1447241665
- ISBN-13: 978-1447241669
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,94,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Year of the Runaways Paperback – 9 Sep 2015
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A wonderfully evocative storyteller. * Independent * The Year of the Runaways takes place in a parallel England, a near-invisible world that rarely intersects with our own. It is familiar territory from news reports, but only in outline. Sahota has a lot to say and he says it calmly, with great moral intelligence . . . deeply impressive. * Sunday Times * This massive book, stuffed with compelling stories, rich in characters and resoundingly authentic in its detailing of life in the harsh underbelly of this country, should be compulsory reading. A magnificent achievement. * Daily Mail * 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 -- Emily Dugan * Independent on Sunday * 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. -- Cressida Connolly * Spectator * Told in the most intimate of ways, not theorised but deeply felt . . . Sahota is a writer who knows how to turn a phrase, how to light up a scene, how to make you stay up late at night to learn what happens next. This is a novel that takes on the largest questions and still shines in the smallest details. Sahota moves some of the most urgent political questions of the day away from rhetorical posturing and contested statistics and into the realm of humanity. The Year of the Runaways is a brilliant and beautiful novel. -- Kamila Shamsie * Guardian *
About the Author
Sunjeev Sahota was born in 1981 in Derbyshire and continues to live in the area. Ours are the Streets is his first novel.
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A novel about the desi immigrant experience for those who come from "lower" castes and from the deep reaches of rural India was long overdue in a genre dominated by local or diasporic English-speaking elites. I think the world can be spared yet another tale portraying uptight, bland Bengalis moving to the UK or the US for their doctorates replete with motifs of the f-o-b lonely wife at home, or inter-generational culture-shock angst.
The Year of the Runaways is most engaging when Sahota deftly walks us through the minutiae of life in India's poorer towns and villages and the realities that compel Indians from the recesses of India to leave behind all that is familiar in terms of place and people for an equally wretched experience in the west. His treatment of casteist structures of oppression as they are brought over and reproduced in the host country was a heartbreaking and wholly accurate one. I just wish the characters and their stories could have been taken forward in a more compelling narrative.
It's a heart wrenching story about 4-5 people whose lives intertwine in UK.
Most people think that foreign shores hold better career opportunities. They put a lot at stake back home and want to make it big outside their own country. Such is the setting for this story. But what breaks you is that past that each one comes with. If that's not all, we get an insight into how the Indian immigrants are exploited. And God save if you fall sick coz there is no one to bear the expenses and the fear of getting caught and deported is high. Yet these guys want to stay back and suffer. Why? Read the story and find out...
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