October 9th, 2015


Book 95: The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

Book 95: The Year of the Runaways.
Author: Sunjeev Sahota, 2015.
Genre: Contemporary. Literary.
Other Details: ebook. 480 pages.

'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. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This was the second of the 2015 Man Booker short-list that I have read. This was certainly a well written novel that focuses on a very topical and controversial issue. The narrative moves between England and India as well as the present day and the formative years of the various characters.

While it proved an easy and engaging read it did not wow me. I felt that it was the sort of novel that could easily be a Channel 4 docudrama about people working illegally in the UK seeking a better life. So even though not my favourite in the shortlist it is a solid, thought-provoking novel that should prove very popular with reading groups for the issues it raises.