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The Pizzeria Vesuvio looks like any other Italian restaurant in London - with a few small differences. The chefs who make the pizza fiorentinas are Sri Lankan, and half the kitchen staff are illegal immigrants.
At the centre is Tuli, the restaurant's charismatic proprietor and resident Robin Hood, who promises to help anyone in need. Nineteen-year-old Nia, haunted by her troubled past in Wales, is running from her family. Shan, having fled the Sri Lankan civil war, is desperate to find his.
But when Tuli's guidance leads them all into dangerous territory, and the extent of his mysterious operation unravels, each is faced with an impossible moral choice.
In a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live?
© Nikita Lalwani 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020
Enthralling as a thriller, yet also a beautiful human drama, and a serious enquiry into the possibility of goodness
Beautiful and brilliant. The exquisite writing is vivid, poetic and perceptive; the characters alive and compelling. Everything I want from a novel. I loved it.
Lively, poetically written and above all compassionate
Timely and hopeful
This sinuous morality tale unfurls from the alternating perspectives... Slinking along like a thriller, it encompasses people smuggling, the labyrinthine inhumanity of Britain's immigration system, alcoholism and a class prejudice that cuts both ways. Kindness and its motives are a constant preoccupation
Pulses with energy
A startlingly original, continuously astute, and deeply compassionate novel. You People alerts us, in these dark times, to the possibility of human nobility
Lalwani's vivid, intensely empathic novel raises profound moral questions while maintaining the momentum and urgency of a thriller
Lalwani is a writer who understands people, and it shines through in her descriptions. This is a moving, authentic, humane novel which raises fundamental questions about what it means to be kind in an unkind world, and it will stay with me for a long time
Lalwani's novel tackles racism and xenophobia, but You People is essentially a compassionate human drama, full of perceptive insights
The Booker Prize-longlisted author of You People on meeting Salman Rushdie, dreaming of the world of Fantastic Mr Fox, and how hitting her creative flow feels like an advert for fabric conditioner.
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