Stealing Nasreen is a novel about the lives of three very different people, all of whom belong to the same small religious community.
Set in Toronto with back story in Mumbai, Nasreen Bastawala, an Indo-Canadian lesbian and burnt-out psychologist, becomes enmeshed in the lives of Shaffiq and Salma Paperwala, new immigrants from Mumbai. While working in the same Toronto hospital as Nasreen, Shaffiq develops a persistent and confusing fascination with Nasreen, causing him to bring home and hide things he “finds” in her office. Salma, his wife, discovers some of these hidden treasures and suspects that something is amiss. Unbeknownst to Shaffiq, Nasreen begins attending weekly Gujarati classes taught by Salma, who finds herself inexplicably attracted to her student. This attraction harkens back memories and regrets Salma holds about a lesbian affair that ended badly years ago.
Nasreen has troubles of her own. She recently broke up with her cheating girlfriend and still has mixed feelings about her, and their relationship. She is also dealing with her father, who has become demanding and clingy ever since the death of her mother a couple of years before.
Without knowing that it is happening, Nasreen becomes the centre of Shaffiq and Salma’s lives. Each keeps a secret about Nasreen, and in so doing risks their marriage, while Nasreen struggles to come to terms with her mother’s death, her recent break-up, and her new relationship with her father. An impulsive kiss between Salma and Nasreen sets off a surprising course of events.