The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

Review published on July 29, 2015.

This is primarily the story of Tochi, Avtar, Randeep and Narinder. The first three are young men who have come over from India, looking for a better life for themselves and their families and are all living and working together. Tochi is illegal, Avtar has a student visa and Randeep has a marriage visa. He is married to Narinder.

This book got off to a slow start and I did wonder if I could carry on with it. Part of the problem for me was the large amount of Indian terminology that I just didn’t understand and a glossary would have been useful. But I’m so glad I persevered because I got used to it and really enjoyed this quite sad tale. Most of the story is about how the characters fare in England, and mostly in Sheffield, but there are three quite lengthy segments looking at how the characters found themselves here.

Their stories gradually drew me in until I really cared about them and hoped they would find the better life they were looking for. I felt their desperation and disappointment when trying to find work and fit in with their cultural differences and I also enjoyed reading about their lives in India. A very good read.

Nicola Smith
Personal read: 4
Group read: 4

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota is published in hbk by Picador on June 18th, 2015

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