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The Year of the Runaways
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The heart-stopping new book from one of Granta's Best of British Novelists 2013

About the Author

Sunjeev Sahota was born in 1981 in Derbyshire and continues to live in the area. He is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, Ours are the Streets.

Reviews

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 *
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 *
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 *
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 *
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 *
A wonderfully evocative storyteller. * Independent *
A sensitive and searing novel. -- Marian Ryan * Mail on Sunday *
This is a rich, intricate, beautifully written novel, bursting and seething with energy. * The Times *
Nothing short of an asteroid impact would have made me put the book down * Irish Times *
The Year of the Runaways is never explicitly polemical, but is steered instead by humane morality. [. . .] Without flights of fancy, neither sensationalising nor preachy, its greatest asset is that it doesn't oversimplify. [. . .] Thoroughly believable, irresistibly humane and often funny. -- Lucy Daniel * Daily Telegraph *
Sahota's funny, humane second novel is certainly a book for our times. * Sunday Telegraph *
Richly authentic and teeming with incident . . . totally compelling. -- John Harding, 'The year's best novels', 2015 * Daily Mail *
A wonderfully subtle writer who makes what he leaves unsaid as important as the words on the page . . . A wise and compassionate observer of humanity. * New Statesman *
By following a handful of young Indian men in England, 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. This is The Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century * Washington Post *

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