Title: The Space Between Us
Author: Thrity Umigar
Summary: The Space Between Us is a fictional look at the relationship between two very different women. Set in modern day India the novel explores how class affects the lives of women. There are two main characters which the novel moves between. One woman is an upper class Parsi housewife, Sera Dubash and the other is her servant of twenty years, Bhima. The novel reveals the similarities that each woman has by focusing on domestic abuse, loss, and disappointments. The novel begins with the disappointment in Bhima’s life that affects not only herself but Sera and her family. Maya, Bhima’s seventeen year old granddaughter, is pregnant and unmarried.
While Maya was away at college, which Sera paid for, she involved herself with a mystery man and became pregnant. At first she refused to hear Bhima and Sera requests that she abort the baby. Bhima hounds the girl each day about the pregnancy, desperate for the knowledge of who had done this to her granddaughter. Exhausted Maya tells Bhima the name of a young man at her college. Bhima travels to the college on loaned money from Sera to confront the man. What she finds is not only does the young man completely deny his involvement in Maya’s pregnancy but he also does not really know who Maya is. Disappointed and completely hopeless for Maya’s future she tells the girl she must get rid of the baby. Ultimately the more time she spent locked up in Bhima dirt shack in the slums the more she realized that she could not have the baby and went to the doctor friend of Bhima’s son in law. After the abortion Maya was sullen and refused to speak to Bhima or Sera.
After we learn about the initial conflict in the story we are then taken through the lives of the main characters. We find out how Sera and her dead husband really got along. How Sera believes that Bhima has been her best friend throughout the years but refuses to acknowledge the woman’s importance to her completely because she does not want to give her servant that power over her.
Favorite Quotes from Novel:
“Although it is dawn, inside Bhima’s heart it is dusk.”
“Now I love the deep sound of the cello. Somehow it sounds most like life- sad and sweet and lost. Lonely. I always think that if the heart could sing, it would sound like a cello.”
“It is dark, but inside Bhima’s heart it is dawn.”
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. The book moves slowly and too much time is spent bouncing between the two main characters lives that often times it becomes unclear who is the subject of the chapter. It takes a long time to reach the main story’s plot (although you suspect who the true father of Maya’s baby is shortly after meeting his character and hearing about his marital problems he and his wife “had.”
Also many times the accents seem forced making certain characters less of a sympatric being and more of a joke.
This novel is not a complete waste of time however. Some of the metaphors used in the novel are actually quite poetic and fit the idea that the author was trying to portray.
This review is also on my Good Reads Shelf.
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