Friday, 22 March 2019

Book Review: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Book: The Space Between Us

Author: Thrity Umrigar

Pages: 321

Read on: My Kindle

Read in: 4.5 hours

Plot Summary: 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. 

Things I Liked:

1. My sister read and loved this book way back in 2010 or something! And she, recently, picked up the sequel and was most engrossed in it, which actually got me to go buy the book on Kindle immediately and start reading it. The premise of this book in itself is so compelling- the story of an upper-middle class Parsi woman and her maid. The contrast in their lives and yet the elements that bind them together. What is not to love?!

2. The writing is beautiful! The author brings both Sera Dubash's and Bhima's worlds alive effortlessly and so beautifully. We walk into Sera's beautiful home, but one filled with memories of domestic abuse, just as easily as we tread the muck and filth into Bhima's shanty in a slum. The world of both women, their struggles, their past is all brought to life so beautifully in this book.

3. The character are also very nicely crafted. Their contradictions, their selfishness, their helplessness, sullenness and just their layers are very nicely etched out. I liked how the author captured this horrid dichotomy most Indians have towards their domestic help- will let them wash their dishes, cook their food, but won't let them sit on the furniture or share their cutlery! For instance, Sera, despite her love and affection for Bhima, didn't let Bhima sit on her sofa or eat out of the same utensils that she and her family did!

4. I grew very fond of Bhima. She's had a hard life with very little happiness and lots of struggle and yet she wakes up every morning and just keeps going. She doesn't have the luxury to wallow or give up because, more than anything else, she wants to give a better life to her granddaughter- the only family she has left with her now. I was happy to know that the sequel almost entirely focuses on Bhima's journey.

5. More than anything else, I really enjoyed being in the world occupied by these characters and that is what a good book is supposed to make you feel!

Things I Didn't like: Nothing really.

Rating: 4.5/5 

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