The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota review – a brilliant political novel about migrant workers in Sheffield


A story about the lives of three Indian men and a British-Indian woman in the city puts the most urgent questions of the day in a human context: Kamila Shamsie in The Guardian

There’s a strange whiff of mistrust in these British isles around the description “political novel”; it’s a term sometimes confused with polemic, and an absence of nuance and subtlety. Sunjeev Sahota’s second novel makes a nonsense of common assumptions about what it means to write a political novel.

His debut, Ours Are the Streets, looked into the mind of a would-be suicide bomber in Sheffield and won him a place on the 2013 Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. The new novel centres around the lives of three Indian men and one British-Indian woman. The three men – Tochi, Randeep and Avtar – live together with other migrant workers in a house in Sheffield; the woman, Narindar, is married to Randeep but barely knows, or wants to know, him and lives separately in a flat.

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