Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review: The Space Between Us

Book: The Space Between Us


Author: Thrity Umrigar

My Review: A captivating novel about the divide between the rich and the poor in India.

My Rating: 4 Stars





After having heard so much about Thrity Umrigar, I finally decided to pick up “The Space Between Us”. I was hooked from the very first page and found every possible excuse to read until I finally finished the book today.



Through the lives of Sera and Bhima, Thrity Umrigar attempts to describe the divide between the rich and the poor in India. Aravind Adiga tries to do the same thing with the White Tiger. While Adiga’s book explores the world of men and drivers of rich businessmen, Thrity concentrates on women and housemaids.



Sera is a wealthy Parsi woman in Bombay and the saying that money can’t buy happiness is definitely true in her case. When she had married Feroz, the man of her dreams all those years ago, little did she realize that her life would take a turn that she never expected. A physically and mentally abusive husband and a nosy, dominating mother in law make Sera’s life hell. She lives her daughter and son-in-law now. Her husband’s dead and her mother in law, crippled and bed ridden. There’s only one person that’s seen Sera through all stages in her life – her servant, Bhima. Bhima’s poor, yet happy, world is shattered when her husband meets with an accident at work. The accident takes away his joy and fun along with three fingers and leaves him with misery and a thirst for alcohol. He soon runs away from home taking his son with him. Bhima is left with her daughter, Pooja. Years later, when Pooja and her husband die of AIDS, Bhima brings their little daughter Maya. Her ray of hope. Maya is a smart kid and through her Bhima envisions a future with no poverty or the hassles of living in a slum.



Thrity Umrigar navigates easily through the ups and downs in Sera’s and Bhima’s life. In addition to their own lives, she also deals with the complicated relationship between Sera and Bhima. As much as they depend on each other for the moral support, they are both painfully aware of the difference in their castes and statuses at all times.



I really enjoyed reading the book. The characters are very well developed – even the minor ones like Sera’s father in law leave an impression on your memory. Have you read “The Space Between Us”? What did you think about the book? I loved this book and I really enjoyed Thrity Umrigar’s writing. Have you read any other book by her? Which one would you recommend for me to read next?



If you haven’t read “The Space Between Us”, I would definitely recommend this one to you. I enjoyed it and I am sure you will too!

30 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read any of Umrigar's work either, but it's all on my wish list. Great review.

Jo-Jo said...

I haven't read any of her books yet, but thanks for this review. I guess I didn't realize that this one was set in India...I think I would like it.

ANovelMenagerie said...

Sounds like a good one. I'm interested.

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I've been wondering about this book, well and about the author too! I keep hearing such great things. I love books set in India...LOVE them. Thanks for your recommendation!!

Happy reading!

Jenny said...

Great review! I wasn't crazy about White Tiger, but I think I'll like this one better since it's focused on women rather than businessmen - that's more my scene. I haven't heard of this author before, but the book sounds lovely.

Dpikay said...

I've been wanting to check this author out for a while now. Library, here I come.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I've had this one on my shelf for a while, but am hoping to get to it soon!

Anna said...

I've heard good things about this author, but I haven't yet read any of her books. This one sounds good.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

PM said...

hey nice review. I want to read more Indian author books ...so this would be one of them

S. Krishna said...

You know I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Thrity Umrigar, but funnily enough I haven't read The Space Between Us! I have it on my shelf and will have to remedy that.

Manju said...

Yet to read this book. Did you read "A fine balance" by Rohinton Mistry? Looking forward for a review of that..

Kim L said...

Wow, that sounds like a really great read! The characters sound really vivid.

Shona said...

Hi..I had this book with me for some time now and your review made me pick it up.Though im juggling between 'The Woman Of Substance' and 'The Space Between us' I found that characters are really well sketched in both the books..Nice review.

I did finish The Constant Princess as i had mentioned under ur Last queen review,but it didnt live up to the expectations..

Diane said...

I really loved this book. Umrigar's latest book: The Weight of Heaven is fabulous!

DeSeRt RoSe said...

You got something waiting on my blog :)

http://desertrosebooklogue.blogspot.com/2009/05/literary-blogger-award.html

Hydroo said...

Just finished her latest book 'The Weight of Heaven', also set in India. Interesting character development as in her other books. Lots of cross cultural stuff along with complex father-son relationships as the central theme.

By the way, found this blog indirectly through your Ride the Rockies participation.

Sreeni

Ramya said...

@sreeni - yaayy!! Ride the Rockies! I guess you're the one Karthik's been chatting with as well! Nice to see you here on my blog:)

Hydroo said...

I see we share reading and biking as common interests. Also, I lived in Augusta, Georgia for 7 years before moving to Oregon.

My initial comment about Ride the Rockies was somewhat of a long shot as there seems to be another namesake of yours in the Atlanta area (in Public Health) who is also into marathons etc. I suspected I may have a case of mistaken identity but looks like I guessed right.

Look forward to seeing you during the ride in Colorado. Only a handful of Desis in the mix, as far as I can tell.

Sreeni

Yvette Kelly said...

hat a wonderful review!I believe that South Africa is right behind India in the list of countries that have the biggest range between the poorest and richest residents.

always said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
always said...

I have not read this book but definitely heard about the manner in which Umrigar brought two women from different background together through shared emotions.The review is awesome.will definitely read it as soon as possible.thanks

regards
alwaysindian

Zeal said...

Hi Ramya, I am new to the blog world, but yours was the first book blog I ever read! I have to say its really lovely!!

You have won a award at http://booksbroadcasting.blogspot.com/

Divya said...

thanks for the review. I ahve been wanting to read this book for a while. Will add it to my list.

Veens said...

Hi Ramya! Remember me?!
:)
Hope you do! so i m back commenting..!~ And I missed your blog :)

I have definitely not heard of this author, but definitely would look for books written by Unrigar!

Thank You for the recommendation!

LisaMM said...

Where are you?

Sheila DeChantal said...

This sounds beautiful

Hena said...

I read this book several years ago and even now the characters and story stayed with me. I picked up Umrigar's newest book "The Weight of Heaven" recently and really enjoyed it too. I have posted about it on my own blog if you're interested:
www.henasgoodbooks.com

Anonymous said...

Again a fair post. Because of your friend

noral said...

hmm.. i first this book review at S krisha blog. Now i saw it at your blog..

Tell me.. which is better
The Help

or' The space between us?

hopefully you've read the help before..

book review help said...

well your Po$t is good and i really like it :). . .awesome WORK . . .KEEP SHARING. .;)
book review help