- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (6 February 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006079156X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060791568
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Space Between Us: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – Deckle Edge, 6 Feb 2007
Special deckle edge formatThis book has a deckle edge format with distinctive, feathery edge papers. The deckle edge adds a decorative, textured edging to the book.
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“With humanity and suspense, novelist Thrity Umrigar tackles love, loyalty, injustice - and survival.” (Marie Claire)
“Poignant.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“[Umrigar] displays an impressive talent for conceiving multidimensional, sympathetic characters with life-like emotional quandaries and psychological stumbling blocks.” (Washington Post Book World, Praise for Bombay Time)
“Sadness suffuses this eloquent tale, whose heart-stopping plot twists reveal the ferocity of fate.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Heartbreaking.... A subtle, elegant analysis of class and power... that quietly roars against tyranny.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Intimately and compassionately told.... Sensuous.... Umrigar’s memorable characters will live on for a long time.” (Frances Itani, Washington Post Book World)
“Umrigar is a perceptive and often piercing writer.” (New York Times Book Review)
“[The Space Between Us] is provocative and disturbing.” (Boston Globe)
“[A] powerful novel.” (National Post (Canada))
“Umrigar is a highly skilled storyteller...the novel’s plot and depth of characterisation provide irresistible momentum.” (Time Out New York)
From the Back Cover
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.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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If you enjoy reading world fiction, especially from India, this book will both intrigue and captivate you. Thrity Umrigar is a gifted storyteller.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is disturbing, heartbreaking — not a fun read — but one I couldn’t put down. We meet two women in India, each in very different economic and social situations, but both suffering from a lack of power and control in their lives. One appears to have it all, the other appears to have nothing. Both have been through very hard times, and there are more bad times to come. They have been friends for many, many years, but one is the other’s lowly servant. In common they have their survival instincts, their resiliency, and their friendship. They will have choices to make, but in the end, really, they have no choice. Each must continue to be who she has been all along.
This is a shocking and painful story, very sincere, very real. It is impossible not to care for and care about these two women. I very highly recommend it, but I must warn in advance that the ending is unsatisfying and unrealistic. Still worth reading? Yes, emphatically, yes. The fact is, I don’t know how else to end the book. People’s stories don’t end as long as they are living, so perhaps the book really shouldn’t have an ending either.
Umrigar tells this story of human desires in the setting of Bombay where the very poor work in the houses of the middle class (labor is very cheap and they lack the conveniences such as dishwashers and washing machines, so even the middle class have maids). There are distinct divisions between the classes. Even the most well treated maids must use separate dishes and are not allowed to sit on the furniture.
Bhima has worked for Sera for many many years. They have become close and over the years Sera has paid for Bhima's granddaughter Maya to attend school and college. Now seventeen year old Maya is pregnant and everyone around her insists that she have an abortion so that she can return to college and not "ruin" her life. The destruction of the child will have lasting effects for both Bhima and Sera's families.
Bhima and Sera are not so very different in their personal desires and neither, whether learned and well-off or impoverished and illiterate, have had much power to direct the flow of their own lives.
The descriptions of the slums in which Bhima and Maya live are raw. Umrigar is a skilled weaver of beautiful and powerful fiction. She writes so well that I felt as if I were walking along the beach with Bhima and buying balloon animals from her balloonwalla or breathing in the smells from the open air market.
Dealing with painful subjects such as extreme poverty, abortion, rape and illiteracy (not unique to India), this is not a novel that will warm you heart. However, Umrigar treats these subjects with dignity and honesty through the sensitive eyes of two believable and likable characters.
I found the novel both gripping and heart breaking. It moved me.