The Year of the Runaways, Hardback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize 'All you can do is surrender, happily, to its power' Salman Rushdie 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 choatic 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.

Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day, this generous, unforgettable novel is - as with Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance - a story of dignity in the face of adversity and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.


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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 them 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.