Books For You: Bhutto’s The Runaways explores modern Muslim identity

Editor | Fiction

Fatima Bhutto’s The Runaways is a dazzling and utterly relevant exploration of the rise of religious fundamentalism and its impact on today’s youth, an explosive novel that asks difficult questions about modern Muslim identity in a world on fire.

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.

 About The Author:

Fatima Bhutto was born in Kabul. She is the author of a book of poetry, two works of non-fiction, including her bestselling memoir Songs of Blood and Sword, and the highly acclaimed novel The Shadow Of The Crescent Moon, which was longlisted in 2014 for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

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