Poignant, evocative, and unforgettable, The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hide the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. A powerful and perceptive literary masterwork, author Thrity Umrigar's extraordinary novel demonstrates how the lives of the rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and how the strong bonds of womanhood are eternally opposed by the divisions of class and culture.
Although it is dawn, inside Bhima's heart it is dusk.
Rolling onto her left side on the thin cotton mattress on the floor, she sits up abruptly, as she does every morning. She lifts one bony hand over her head in a yawn and a stretch, and a strong, mildewy smell wafts from her armpit and assails her nostrils. For an idle moment she sits at the edge of the mattress with her callused feet flat on the mud floor, her knees bent, and her head resting on her folded arms. In that time she is almost at rest, her mind thankfully blank and empty of the trials that await her today and the next day and the next . . . To prolong this state of mindless grace, she reaches absently for the tin of chewing tobacco that she keeps by her bedside. She pushes a wad into her mouth, so that it protrudes out of her fleshless face like a cricket ball.
Bhima's idyll is short-lived. In the faint, delicate light of a new day, she makes out Maya's silhouette as she stirs on the ...
When The Space Between Us was first released, Umrigar was concerned that Western readers would think of it as a book about a distant "exotic" culture and miss that the themes she draws on are universal. She points out that The Space Between Us is not a novel about caste (Sera Dubash is a Parsi not a Hindu, and the Parsi's do not hold to the caste system) but the more universal system of class divisions - what brings us together and what divides us.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1035 words).
Thrity Umrigar was born and brought up in Bombay (Mumbai) until the age of 21, when she
came to the U.S. to study. She chose to take an M.A. at Ohio State
University because as she was checking through a list of American colleges that
offered journalism when her eyes fell on "Ohio State University" just as the Joan Baez recording she was
listening to played Banks of the Ohio, which she took to be
During her more than 17 years as a journalist she has written for the Washington Post, the Plain Dealer, and other national newspapers, and contributes regularly to the Boston Globe's book pages. She also teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University.
The Space Between Us is her ...
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