You People
Nikita Lalwani

Book cover image

Narrated By: Vineeta Rishi

Duration: 7 hours and 6 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin

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


'Street' fiction, Contemporary lifestyle fiction, Narrative theme: Coming of age, Narrative theme: Politics, Narrative theme: Social issues

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Timely and hopeful


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

Lalwani's vivid, intensely empathic novel raises profound moral questions while maintaining the momentum and urgency of a thriller

The Lady

Lalwani's novel tackles racism and xenophobia, but You People is essentially a compassionate human drama, full of perceptive insights

Independent, Books of the Month

Folds serious social issues into an entertaining plot

Daily Mail

Lalwani explores kindness, altruism and the precariousness of interconnected lives in an economical tale that has the pace and suspense of a thriller

Daily Mail

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


Lalwani's novels are full of moments when the stories people tell about themselves and the world prove to be unreliable or open to manipulation.... observations are magical, fresh and unsettling

London Review of Books

Pulses with energy

Mail on Sunday

Lalwani eloquently explores the prejudices, financial pressures and loneliness faced by 'outsiders' trying to survive in a hostile environment

The Tablet

If you want a book to read this summer that taps into contemporary concerns, this excellent new one from Nikita Lalwani is the one to read


Lalwani's prose has a balletic lightness


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

Brilliant . . . A thriller reminiscent of Dirty Pretty Things. Really recommend it.

Nikesh Shukla

Enthralling as a thriller, yet also a beautiful human drama, and a serious enquiry into the possibility of goodness

Tessa Hadley

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


A sensitive and thought-provoking examination of an issue that is never far from the news and, as the plot accelerates, it segues into a tense and nerve-wracking thriller

Western Mail

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


Intelligent and heart-piercing - an exceptional novel about the Britain we live in, even if we choose not to see it

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

Lively, poetically written and above all compassionate