Nisha's Reviews > The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
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Dec 29, 11

bookshelves: favorites
Read in December, 2011

I finished this book in two or three hours, late at night/early in the morning. The inevitable sleep deprivation that followed was totally worth it, because this book is fantastic. Perhaps it's because I feel a personal connection with the characters - my both parents grew up in Bombay. This story reminds me of a Bombay I vaguely know being US born and raised. The small insertions of Gujarati phrases and the very Indian style of English spoken come across clearly in this novel and for me, helped set the mood of the rest of the story.

This is a book of characters - battered Sera, tough Bhima, and charming men gone bad. I note many other reviewers criticizing Sera for staying in her abusive relationship, something that is beyond me. Yes, women should get out, but do they always? No. This book is sometimes hard to swallow because there is so much sorrow in it from both of the female protagonists, especially Bhima. Umrigar does not try to convince you that there is no class gap or that it has been bridged, but reminds you that we all feel pain and that we all suffer. Yes, some in greater degrees than other, but it's one thing humans share.

Another thing I like about this novel is how the climax in reached in the last 30 pages. It provided a very dramatic feel for the story. There was no resolution, no falling action. The book is left stagnating, in a state of exhilarating anxiousness. The book is finished with the promise of change, but you do not see it. As a reader, you are absorbed by the two women's stories for the majority of the book. There is buildup, but it is subtle, mostly because as time progresses in the story and events happen, you learn about the events that happened the furthest in the past. That isn't the best way to describe it, in fact it is probably the least eloquent way to do so, but the anticipation of what will happen next is enriched by what happened in the past. In the last pages, that becomes difficult to see. You cannot predict what will happen when the book ends, or atleast I could not because it is so wildly different than what you expected it to be.

This book made me cry, not out of sadness, but by the power of Umrigar's story. Definitely reccommended.
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Quotes Nisha Liked

Thrity Umrigar
“Or perhaps is is that time doesn't heal wounds at all, perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones - the angle of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile - has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.”
Thrity Umrigar, The Space Between Us


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