After her bestselling memoir Songs of Blood and Sword, and her highly acclaimed debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction), Fatima Bhutto is back with an explosive new work of fiction: The Runaways.
From the slums of Karachi to the nightlife of London, from the dockyards of Portsmouth to the deserts of Mosul, this sweeping novel delves into burning questions about modern Muslim identity in a world aflame with violence.
Anita Rose lives in a concrete block in one of Karachi’s biggest slums, languishing in poverty with her mother and older brother. Determined to escape her stifling circumstances, she struggles to educate herself, scribbling down English words—gleaned from watching TV or taught by her elderly neighbour—in her most prized possession: a glossy red notebook. All the while she is aware that a larger destiny awaits her.
On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city. But Monty wants more than fast cars and easy girls. When the rebellious Layla joins his school, he knows his life will never be the same again.
And far away in Portsmouth, Sunny fits in nowhere. It is only when he meets his charismatic, suntanned cousin Oz—whose smile makes Sunny feel found—that that he realizes his true purpose.
These three disparate lives will cross paths in the middle of a desert, a place where life and death walk hand-in-hand, and where their closely guarded secrets will force them to make a terrible choice.
‘Penguin India has been my home for the past ten years and I am thrilled that my new novel—a book very close to my heart—will be published by them this October.’ Fatima Bhutto
‘Fatima Bhutto’s new novel is born out of very contemporary concerns, and her characters are absorbingly complex—from a young woman struggling to better her prospects to a young man tormented by homosexual urges he strives to suppress. Readers are going to be shocked and moved by what she has to say.’ Ambar Sahil Chatterjee, Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India
‘Fatima’s new novel does not shy away from disturbing truths about the world we live in today, and her skills as a storyteller are at their peak. To say I am excited about The Runaways is a huge understatement!’ Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, Penguin Random House India