Everyone has something to run away from and Sunjeev Sahota’s characters are no different. Sahota’s four main characters run from poverty, death, and familial responsibility to England where, surely, life’s problems will dissolve. Tarlochan has seen the brutal death of his family and Avtar and Randeep, once secure in their Indian homes, are now on the brink of losing it all. On the surface, Narinder is pious and convinces herself she is doing “good” by being a Visa-wife for one short year. The men see inhumane living conditions, little pay, and even fewer jobs. England is not the salvation they had all hoped. As expected, running away from one’s problems does not make them magically disappear.
Sahota’s pages are filled with despair and details of how callously humans can treat each other. His writing is descriptive and often there is too much back and forth between characters. At times, this reviewer had to re-read pages to get a grasp on where she was in the story and with which character. The story of pain carried on too long for this reviewer, but this is the perfect book for readers who love books set in India and England, and filled with challenges and heartbreak.
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