In this beautifully crafted novel about the interlinked lives of two women, Thrity Umrigar explores the complex relationships between the classes in India, rarely addressed in contemporary fiction. 'Bhima is real. She worked in the house I grew up in, year after year, a shadow flitting around our middle-class home, her thin brown hands cleaning ...
In this beautifully crafted novel about the interlinked lives of two women, Thrity Umrigar explores the complex relationships between the classes in India, rarely addressed in contemporary fiction. 'Bhima is real. She worked in the house I grew up in, year after year, a shadow flitting around our middle-class home, her thin brown hands cleaning furniture she was not allowed to sit on, cooking food she was not allowed to share at the family dining table, dusting the stereo that mainly played American rock and roll, music that was alien and unfamiliar to her, that only reminded her of her nebulous presence in our home, our world, our lives.' Thrity Umrigar Set in contemporary Bombay, 'The Space Between Us' tells the story of Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife and Bhima, the woman who works as a domestic servant in her home. Despite their class differences, the two women are bound by the bonds of gender and shared life experiences - both had marriages that started out with great romantic love and promise, but ended up as crushing disappointments. Ultimately, Sera Dubash faces a decision that will force her to choose between loyalty to gender and friendship or loyalty to her social position and class.
This is a beutifully written book. The "space between" people being on so many levels. I hope to read others by this author. I highly recommend it.
Oct 14, 2010
Caste system in India
This book compares two women's lives whom belong to different social and economic strata in India. It is a very realistic book, and therefore, sometimes very sad.
I only gave it 3 stars because it was a little depressing too read.
Aug 27, 2010
Read this book!
What a fabulous book! It's well written, stylistically beautiful and thought provoking. The main character is gentle and thoroughly likeable, I found I had real sympathy for her in life's difficult situations. No trite ending either! I can't wait to read more by Thrity Unrigar!
Aug 8, 2007
Thrity Umrigar has written a superb novel about the various differences that exist between the wealthy and the underpriviledged in India, some obvious, some more subtle. I had expected a dry, scholarly-toned novel, and therefore wasn't too keen on reading it; however, before the end of the first chapter, I found myself wanting to continue and could not put the book down. In fact, I read it in only 2 sittings within a 48-hour time period. The story captured my attention almost immediately, and I gave the novel to my mother the very next day, because I wanted to discuss the story, particularly the ending, with someone else.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-12-05 Umrigar's schematic novel (after Bombay Time) illustrates the intimacy, and the irreconcilable class divide, between two women in contemporary Bombay. Bhima, a 65-year-old slum dweller, has worked for Sera Dubash, a younger upper-middle-class Parsi woman, for years: cooking, cleaning and tending Sera after the beatings she endures from her abusive husband, Feroz. Sera, in turn, nurses Bhima back to health from typhoid fever and sends her granddaughter Maya to college. Sera recognizes their affinity: "They were alike in many ways, Bhima and she. Despite the different trajectories of their lives-circumstances... dictated by the accidents of their births-they had both known the pain of watching the bloom fade from their marriages." But Sera's affection for her servant wars with ingrained prejudice against lower castes. The younger generation-Maya; Sera's daughter, Dinaz, and son-in-law, Viraf-are also caged by the same strictures despite efforts to throw them off. In a final plot twist, class allegiance combined with gender inequality challenges personal connection, and Bhima may pay a bitter price for her loyalty to her employers. At times, Umrigar's writing achieves clarity, but a narrative that unfolds in retrospect saps the book's momentum. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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