cheryl's Reviews > The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
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's review
Mar 31, 2011

really liked it
Read from March 31 to April 09, 2011

The Space Between Us explores the relationship of two women in modern-day India, one who probably fits our idea of upper-middle class and the other who has been a long-time servant in her home. In some notes after the book, the author explains that having household help is quite common among the middle class as labor is quite cheap (often cheaper than installing a dishwasher etc). The women are both without their husbands, with whom they had very complex relationships, and share their lives with young women (a daughter an son-in-law for one, a granddaughter for the other).

I very much enjoyed this book. It spoke a lot about class divisions and the huge divide between two women who spent much of their day together. The middle class woman is aware of the absurdity of some parts of the divison such as not allowing the servant to sit on furniture and having her use a set-aside dish, but still unable to step away from those customs. The author deftly notes the exubernace of youth and their desire to break custom but also suggests this youthful fight tends to fade with time. The novel also explores the power that comes with class (and education), showing the difference in response that the two women recieve in medical and business dealings.

Solid four star. Not a fan of the reveal near the novel's end but always appreciate novel's that don't end with everything wrapped in a pretty bow (I don't think that counts as a spoiler...).
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04/17 marked as: read

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