The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

This dramatic novel focuses on hard lives. The characters suffer a lot from some of the exploitation associated with international capitalism. Immigration leads some of them into really desperate situations. However, the circumstances which made travel appear seductive are also portrayed in a grim light.

The narrative is not an easy read in terms of content. Nonetheless, it is composed in a simple and effective style. This means that the reader is not slowed down by complex arrangements of words. Instead, the reader is swept along like the captivating characters they follow.

Ultimately, Sahota does not lead one to believe there are easy answers to the terrible injustices described in the novel. For example, his description of Indian politics emphasises the impact of caste and chaos:

“he said it was the damn Maoists. They’d dumped a truckload of Brahmin bodies in the maidaan a few hours ago…But this was only what he’d heard. None of it might be true.”

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