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.
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).
The Washington Post - Frances Itani
Umrigar is a skilled storyteller, and her memorable characters will live on for a long time.
San Francisco Chronicle - Lynn Andriani
To read Umrigar's novel is to catch a glimpse of a foreign culture, for better and for worse. Yet while the class divide between Bhima and Sera provides much of the conflict in The Space Between Us, it isn't the only source of disagreement. Class colors everything, but in the end, Umrigar shows, every one of life's ups and downs are available to us all.
The Asian Review of Books - Niranjana Iyer
In the hands of a writer less skilled than Umrigar, this would be the stuff of melodrama. However, the author's level-headed prose, and the quiet dignity of her characters' lives, make this book both convincing and compelling. The dedication of The Space Between Us "For the real Bhima and the millions like her"; Umrigar has provided these millions with a voice so vital and heartfelt that readers will remember Bhima long after closing this book.
At times, Umrigar's writing achieves clarity, but a narrative that unfolds in retrospect saps the book's momentum.
Umrigar transcends the specifics of two Bombay women and creates a novel that quietly roars against tyranny.
Booklist - Allison Block
Sadness suffuses this eloquent tale, whose heart-stopping plot twists reveal the ferocity of fate. As Bhima sits at her dying daughter's side, a fellow hospital visitor speaks the simple, brutal truth: "Here, we have all hit the jackpot for grief."
Umrigar beautifully and movingly wends her way through the complexities and subtleties of these unequal but caring relationships.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Louise Jolly FANTASTIC!!! Thrity Umrigar's "SPACE BETWEEN US" is a novel of moral integrity, social/class division, emotional isolation, profound passion and intimacy.
Ms. Umrigar has given us an achingly beautiful, mesmerizing and... Read More
Rated of 5
by Mary Ann Dubash A universal theme with wonderful color Although this story features a particular ethnic group and locale, its themes are universal to all men and women. The story, which draws the reader in, describes in poignant detail the workings of a family and a marriage. Although very familiar... Read More
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 second novel, following Bombay Time. She has also published a memoir, First Darling of the Morning:
Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Her next novel, If Today Be Sweet, is due to be published in June. She says it is "a story about...
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