What to expect

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Runaways, written by Fatima Bhutto and read by Maya Saroya.

Anita lives in Karachi’s biggest slum. Her mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita’s life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbour, a man whose shelves of books promise an escape to a different world. On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city and expects great things of him. But when a beautiful and rebellious girl joins his school, Monty will find his life going in a very different direction.

Sunny’s father left India and went to England to give his son the opportunities he never had. Yet Sunny doesn’t fit in anywhere. It’s only when his charismatic cousin comes back into his life that he realises his life could hold more possibilities than he ever imagined.

These three lives will cross in the 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.

Critics Review

  • A tender, powerful and richly embroidered novel from a courageous storyteller.
    From Karachi’s slums to England’s promises, (through connected cities and intersecting destinies), Bhutto’s new novel will move you with its profound wisdom and sharp grasp of our turbulent times. Behind The Runaways, there is clearly a brilliant mind and a generous heart at work.

    Elif Shafak
  • This is a bold and probing novel, from a writer strikingly alert to something small and true

    Guardian
  • Every page of this is priceless. I can’t think of a better guide through the world we live in. I’ve never used the word “transformative” before, but I just did now.

    Gary Shteyngart
  • A powerful and moving book. It is a book that anyone rushing to condemn young people for being radicalised should read.

    Anne Youngson, author of 'Meet Me at the Museum'
  • As compassionate as it is trenchant, this rare fiction is an illuminating guide through the great disorder of our times.

    Pankaj Mishra, author of 'Age of Anger'
  • Dazzling . . . a novel that holds up to scrutiny a world of claustrophobic war zones, virulent social media and cities collapsing upon themselves, and then sets it down again, transformed by the grace of storytelling

    Siddartha Deb, author of 'The Point of Return'

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