By Ayesha Inoon

cover image of Untethered

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HIGHLY COMMENDED - ACT Literary Awards 2024, Fiction.

Winner of the 2022 ASA/HQ Fiction Prize. A finely observed debut novel of a young Muslim woman's experience of immigration to Australia from Sri Lankan-Australian writer Ayesha Inoon.

Zia secretly longs to go to university but as a young woman in a traditional Muslim family, she does what is expected of her and agrees to an arranged marriage to Rashid, a man she barely knows. Cocooned by the wealth and customs of her family, Rashid's dark moods create only the smallest of ripples in their early life together.

When growing political unrest spurs them to leave Sri Lanka and immigrate to Australia, Zia is torn between fear of leaving her beloved family and the possibility of new freedoms. While on paper their new country welcomes them with open arms, their visas come with many restrictions and for the first time Zia faces isolation, poverty and an increasingly unstable marriage that forms a cage stronger than any she's known before.

Determined to carve a place for herself in this new country, Zia sets out on uncertain terrain and discovers friendship, devastating loss and hope for a different future. One that asks her to consider not just who she is, but who she might become.

Partially drawn from her own experiences, debut author Ayesha Inoon's novel weaves the threads of family, culture and tradition together with the uncertainty and freedom of starting anew to create a complex tapestry of identity, resilience and hope.

'A nuanced and moving exploration of what it means to leave the only home you've ever known for the promise of a better life, Ayesha Inoon's Untethered examines the crushing disappointments that can await immigrants and the ever-present question of whether they did the right thing.' - Tracey Lien, award-winning author of All That's Left Unsaid

'By turns gentle and searing, rich with life, yearning and the search for self, Ayesha Inoon's beautifully written debut novel is an unmissable read.' - Kim Lock, bestselling author of The Other Side of Beautiful & The Fancies


'Untethered is a study in cultural difference, written with fluidity and honesty. It's thought-provoking and invites cultural self-examination.' - The Canberra Bookshelf

'Untethered is about uprooting and relocating, and it is about the resilience of one woman, determined to take control of her own life.' - The Weekend Australian, Notable Books