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From the outside, Pizzeria Vesuvio seems just like any other pizza place in West London: a buzzy, cheerful Italian spot on a street where cooks from Sri Lanka rub shoulders with waitstaff from Spain, Georgia, Wales, Poland, and more. But upstairs, on the battered leather sofas, lives are being altered drastically and often illegally, as money, legal aid, safe passage, and hope are dealt out under the table to those deemed worthy. Set in the opening years of the 21st century, against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war and its outpouring of refugees to Britain, You People asks the big questions at a time of bewildering flux. What price do we put on life, on freedom, and the right to love in an age defined by seismic political change?

Praise for You People

“Lalwani has a knack for close observation of people: their mannerisms and motivations, the way they relate to each other in different situations. … Crucially, though, pain is not the defining experience of these characters. … Fiction is not a blueprint, but it can be a gilded mirror, or a four-dimensional map. Living, loving, dying—You People is an elegant work of all three.”
The Seattle Times

“(R)avishing, insightful prose… (written with) great skill and empathic heart… Nikita Lalwani’s magical novel invites us to ponder generosity and human kindness.”

“Set in the early aughts, this novel orbits around a London pizzeria that is also a safe house for undocumented workers.”
The New Yorker

“(S)urges with passion, intrigue, and a rigorous eye toward British immigration policy.”
Publishers Weekly

“A sprawling cast that includes sharply drawn characters… Lalwani’s concern is the philosophical and moral questions surrounding migration.”
The New York Times

“Writing in crisp, frank prose adorned with lyrical flourishes, Lalwani searingly exposes an urgent, universal story of humanity lost and (hopefully) found.”
Shelf Awareness

“(C)ompact yet powerful… this timely and adept novel deserves wide readership.”

“A female lead who isn’t defined by a romantic story arc? Yes please. Lalwani’s serious, ravishing way of writing about the secret life of Britain is just what we need.”
Times (UK)

“A lively, poetically written and above all compassionate book.”
Sunday Times

You People is a short, complex novel that shines a light behind the smiles at your local restaurant, and asks tough questions about the nature of goodness in an unfair society.”
Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Week)

“Folds serious social issues into an entertaining plot.”
Daily Mail

“Pulses with energy.”
Mail on Sunday

“Timely and hopeful.”

“Lalwani’s vivid, intensely empathic novel raises profound moral questions while maintaining the momentum and urgency of a thriller.”
The Lady

“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.”
Guardian (UK)

“A startlingly original, continuously astute, and deeply compassionate novel. You People alerts us, in these dark times, to the possibility of human nobility.”
Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger

“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.”
Stephen Merchant, co-creator of The Office

“This sinuous morality tale unfolds from alternating perspectives… there are worlds within worlds in this metropolis… Ms Lalwani’s prose has a balletic lightness.”
Economist (UK)

“Lalwani leaves us with a lingering sense of extraordinary lives and events, in an utterly ordinary setting.”
Financial Times

“Lalwani’s language is rich and sonorous, interwoven with vivid images that convey the depth of her characters’ lives and emotions with arresting clarity.”
Irish Times

“Intelligent and heart-piercing―an exceptional novel about the Britain we live in, even if we choose not to see it.”
Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

“An opening onto a vivid world, whole in itself, not like anything else, fascinating, and so beautifully done, with fresh, alive perceptions and reactions, a tenderness towards people.”
Tessa Hadley, author of Late in the Day