Book Review: The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

Book Review: The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

I heard an excerpt from this book on a thought-provoking public radio show - To The Best of Our Knowledge: A Borderless World, which is well worth a listen. I've been thinking about immigration a lot lately, considering the issues, the varied way people respond to them and what can be done to help people who are struggling to escape extreme poverty, violence and oppression. 

Sunjeev Sahota is a British novelist whose paternal grandparents emigrated to Britain from the Punjab in 1966. He was brought up in the British Sikh community and regularly visits extended family in India. So although The Year of the Runaways is a novel, it is grounded in the reality of what Sahota has witnessed both in India and in England.

Here's a synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I can't honestly say I enjoyed The Year of the Runaways or found that I found it fascinating. Those are the wrong words for an exploration of lives lived in situations ranging from unfortunate to brutal hardship where, despite people's best efforts, everything seems to go from bad to worse.

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I love to share things I like, love or find thought-provoking or inspiring with others. It's a huge part of why I blog and use social media. Occasionally I'll share a round-up of interesting links, books I've read, music I'm loving, cool artwork etc. Enjoy!

LINKS:

Zen Habits: The Downward & Upward Spiral of Health & Productivity The bad news about health and productivity habits is that if you start to slip up, things can slowly spiral downward. If you are tired, you can’t focus on your important work, you don’t make time for exercise or cooking healthy food, so you grab some fast food, you veg out in front of the TV. This doesn’t lead to better energy the next day, but it does lead you to feel worse and worse about yourself. When you feel worse about yourself, you want to comfort yourself with more unhealthy food. You don’t feel motivated to exercise or be productive. Things spiral downward, until you feel hopeless and out of control. The good news about these habits is that they can also spiral upward...

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Book Review: All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

Book Review: All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

What can I say about this novel? I came across it while browsing the "new book" shelves at the library. I think I picked it up because the bright orange cover caught my eye, it's not too big (good for carrying around and for holding in one hand while I eat) and the title intrigued me. I read the back cover and debated putting it back. I wasn't in the mood to read a book about the struggles of two sisters after one of them attempts suicide. But after a moment's reflection, I decided to give it a try.

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Less Stuff, More Food?

omehow I keep reading these murder mystery novels where the protagonists are living these incredibly epicurean lifestyles. Even if their homes are not quite Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (or MTV Cribs) caliber, these people eat, drink, and usually dress exceedingly well. Pages upon pages are dedicated to describing wine, brandy, and gourmet meals.

One of the characters in the last book I read lived in a shack out in the boondocks with a tent behind functioning as her art studio/aromatherapy lab. She worked as a waitress at a very posh restaurant/wine bar and got to eat and mingle with the clientele (in fact she dated the owner and inherited his house when he died). 

This leads me to believe that perhaps I should be less interested in acquiring worldly goods such as pantry organizers, filing cabinets, children's toys and the like, and instead should dedicate myself to living a simple uncluttered life dedicated to the pursuit of fine dining. 

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