In the north of England, a group of young Indian immigrants struggle to begin something new—to support their families; to build their futures; to show their worth; to escape their pasts. An epic for our times, The Year of the Runaways is a stunning work of fiction that explores what it means and what it costs to make a new life, the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the power of humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering.
About The Year of the Runaways
Short-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize
The Guardian: The Best Novels of 2015 The Independent: Literary Fiction of the Year 2015
From one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and Man Booker Prize nominee Sunjeev Sahota—a sweeping, urgent contemporary epic, set against a vast geographical and historical canvas, astonishing for its richness and texture and scope, and for the utter immersiveness of its reading experience.
Three young men, and one unforgettable woman, come together in a journey from India to England, where they hope to begin something new—to support their families; to build their futures; to show their worth; to escape the past. They have almost no idea what awaits them.
In a dilapidated shared house in Sheffield, Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his life in Bihar. Avtar and Randeep are middle-class boys whose families are slowly sinking into financial ruin, bound together by Avtar’s secret. Randeep, in turn, has a visa wife across town, whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes in case the immigration agents surprise her with a visit.
She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all.
The Year of the Runaways unfolds over the course of one shattering year in which the destinies of these four characters become irreversibly entwined, a year in which they are forced to rely on one another in ways they never could have foreseen, and in which their hopes of breaking free of the past are decimated by the punishing realities of immigrant life.
A novel of extraordinary ambition and authority, about what it means and what it costs to make a new life—about the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the resurrection of tenderness and humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering.
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
A Washington Post and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
“Deeply affecting. . . . No recent novel does a more powerful job of capturing the day-to-day lives of . . . immigrants.” —The New York Times
“Masterful. . . . Not only a timely book, but a gut-wrenching, emotionally honest one, as well.” —NPR
“A major achievement. . . . Sahota is a clear-eyed, unflinching storyteller.” —The New Yorker
“The Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century. . . . Sahota has captured the plight of millions of desperate people struggling to find work, to eke out some semblance of a decent life in a world increasingly closed-fisted and mean.” —The Washington Post
“[A] sprawling, stunning novel.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Sahota’s superb novel helps to make the reality of migrants a little less unimaginable and a little more human.” —The Wall Street Journal