Once a StrangerZoya Patel
Their mother was sick. Their mother was dying.
Laila wanted her to come home.
She wasn't sure which of the two truths was more frightening.
Ayat hasn't seen or spoken to her sister, Laila, and mother, Khadija, for six years. She has been estranged from her family since she baulked against the arranged marriage of her sister and settled into a relationship deemed haram by Indian Muslim tradition.
Living in Melbourne, with Harry, Ayat is a different person now, living a different life. She is not the woman her mother and sister once knew - so how can she go home? But how can she not?
Once a Stranger weaves through the past and present to show the bonds and disconnects between sisters, and between a mother and daughter, as the three women grapple with the idea of where they feel most at home.