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!