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The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
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The Space Between Us (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Thrity Umrigar

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2,014964,802 (3.97)146
Member:ccs3
Title:The Space Between Us
Authors:Thrity Umrigar
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 321 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (2006)

  1. 00
    The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch (OneMorePage)
  2. 00
    The Hope Factory by Lavanya Sankaran (ashmolean1)
    ashmolean1: These both compare and contrast the lives of the employer and employee in India in well written highly readable styles.
  3. 00
    Q & A by Vikas Swarup (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 12
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (mcenroeucsb)
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» See also 146 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Good, but OMG depressing.


And, er, spoiler!



The optimistic ending? Felt very thin, like it would be torn apart by even one more day's events. It didn't feel tacked on or anything, just... likely to be dashed. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Relentlessly depressing ( )
  fhudnell | Apr 5, 2018 |
How do I begin to say how disappointed I was in this book? "The Space Between Us" had been on my to-read list for many months. I was truly excited when I was finally able to begin reading it. The description made it sound so intriguing, so interesting! It was slow to start, I thought. Just past the halfway point, things finally started rolling. I was finally at a point where I couldn't put it down. All of the storylines, the plot line, finally came to a head. And then......it just ended. Completely disappointing!! I don't loose ends if there will be a sequel. But I know that this book is solo, so I find it completely frustrating not knowing that everything has been resolved. ( )
  AliciaFaith | Jan 4, 2018 |
Tells the story of two Indian families that grew with one another, one of the middle class and one of the servant class. The two main characters Bidha, the poor grandmother servant, and Serabai, the wealthy homeowner, spend most of their adulthoods together as Bidha works in Sera's home. They know each other and one another's emotions as if they were the closest of friends except this book reveals how far apart two can be as they are ashamed to talk about reality. They can perceive emotions in each other, but they are never spoken and truly explored. Although, they are so close, they are so far apart. The book tells the story of several characters in the families who live secret lives picking and choosing with whom to share what. It's also a narrative on the caste system and wealth disparity in Mumbai (called Bombay in this book). It is a story which shows internal thoughts and values versus what you show and how you act to the outside world. Oftentimes, the difference is due to pride in oneself or one's family, it is due to social conditioning, and societal values. ( )
  jtp146 | Dec 26, 2017 |
I was disappointed by this book. I usually enjoy the work of South Asian writers, and the reviews of this one were quite positive, so I looked forward to starting it. This book never grabbed me. I finished it, and the story engaged me more towards the end, but it wasn't the kind of book I wanted to pick up every time I had a spare minute. The subject matter -- about how class has the power to separate people even when they wish to be close -- seemed obvious, and the story didn't teach my anything or give me new insights into the subject. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
For the real Bhima and the millions like her.
First words
Although it is dawn, inside Bhima's heart it is dusk.
Quotations
Black smoke the color of despair rose from those pyres.
Does she miss Feroz? She is unsure of the answer. She does not miss the shame-inducing beatings, his clenched anger, her own cowering servility, and the hypocrisy of pretending that all is well in her marriage. No, that she does not miss. In fact, what she misses is not the marriage but the dream of the marriage. Even now, after all the intervening years, she misses the man she had thought she was marrying.
I carried you in my stomach for nine months. I know every inch of your skin. If a mosquito lands on you, I feel the sting.
One way or the other, they would’ve tricked us. Because they own the world, you see. They have the machines and the money and the factories and the education. We are just the tools they use to get all those things. You know how I use a hammer to pound a nail? Well, they use me like a hammer to get what they want. That’s all I am to them, a hammer. And what happens to a hammer once its teeth break off? You throw it away and get a new hammer. All they did was use you to buy themselves a new hammer.
Sera went through the purse of her memory, hunting for gold coins.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006079156X, Paperback)

The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar's poignant novel about a wealthy woman and her downtrodden servant, offers a revealing look at class and gender roles in modern day Bombay. Alternatively told through the eyes of Sera, a Parsi widow whose pregnant daughter and son-in-law share her elegant home, and Bhima, the elderly housekeeper who must support her orphaned granddaughter, Umrigar does an admirable job of creating two sympathetic characters whose bond goes far deeper than that of employer and employee.

When we first meet Bhima, she is sharing a thin mattress with Maya, the granddaughter upon whom high hopes and dreams were placed, only to be shattered by an unexpected pregnancy and its disastrous consequences. As time goes on, we learn that Sera and her family have used their power and money time and time again to influence the lives of Bhima and Maya, from caring for Bhima's estranged husband after a workplace accident, to providing the funds for Maya's college education. We also learn that Sera's seemingly privileged life is not as it appears; after enduring years of cruelty under her mother-in-law's roof, she faced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, pain that only Bhima could see and alleviate. Yet through the triumphs and tragedies, Sera and Bhima always shared a bond that transcended class and race; a bond shared by two women whose fate always seemed to rest in the hands of others, just outside their control.

Told in a series of flashbacks and present day encounters, The Space Between Us gains strength from both plot and prose. A beautiful tale of tragedy and hope, Umrigar's second novel is sure to linger in readers' minds. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Bhima, a domestic servant in the household of Sera Dubash, an upper-class Parsi housewife, develops a bond with her employer over the course of many years as they both suffer through abusive marriages, loss, and disappointments, but their friendship still cannot overcome the restrictions of class and money.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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