The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (published by HarperCollins) was a book I picked up on a whim. The cover said National Bestseller but I’d never heard of it. It’s set in modern day India and is the story of 2 women, Sera Dubash, a Parsi upper-middle class housewife and her illiterate servant Bhima who has worked for her for over 20 years. Their lives intersect not only in an employer/employee relationship, but in a very personal way that has Bhima analyzing the bonds they created together over the years. Bhima lives in the slums with her granddaughter Maya whose parents died of AIDS when she was very small. We learn at the very beginning of the book that Maya is pregnant. This affects not only Maya, but Bhima and Sera who have been concerned for her well-being since she was orphaned at the age of 4. As the book jacket says “The life of the privileged is harshly measured against the life of the powerless.” I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but it’s a wonderful story, and extremely well written… “Sera went through the purse of her memory, hunting for a few gold coins”… isn’t this a wonderful sentence! She uses it to explain her attempt to find something good to say about her husband when he dies… her abusive husband, who in the eyes of their son was “a prince of a man” .  It’s a great book. Every now and then you have to stop and digest what you’ve just read before going on. I love it when a book makes you think. Umrigar is a fantastic writer and I really enjoyed her book.

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