Glenn's Reviews > The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
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's review
Jul 24, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in March, 2007

In Thrity Umrigar's transportive novel, we come to know Bombay, as well as its residents, in its ugliness, its evocative beauty, and its uniqueness; and find how rare and difficult it is for people to transverse different parts of it, geographically and culturally.

Throughout The Space Between Us, there are details presumably unfamiliar to the reader not conversant with the colloquial language of Bombay; the rhyming, the slang; yet, it hardly matters, as the thrust and emotional meaning of each line are apparent, even if not immediately so, and Thrity's ability to communicate the emotional essence of thoughts and conversations rarely leaves doubt about what is happening.

The book delves deeply into the sufferings of women, of any caste, at the hands of men. Men, who either by their comfortable assertions of patriarchal power or by their own dissolution become neglectful, make the lives of the women in “The Space Between Us” a trial, no matter how egalitarian the relationship appears to the outside world. And the men who are not "evil," are merely ineffectual, even their kindest gestures too little to salve the wounds that other men have created.

And yet there are throughout The Space Between moments of intense passion and sensuality between the men and woman portrayed within. Strong feeling that keeps rising up, memory at once healing, wounding, reminding.

We come to see the loyalties between people of different classes. How individuals can be convinced that they have conquered the unavoidable distances that money and station can create, and how the removal of that illusion can be an unforgiving destroyer. And how the instinct for self-preservation may be strong, but without the means to preserve oneself, all the intent in the world can mean nothing.

Even when detailing the worst circumstances, the beauty and the power of the prose drives the reader onward. This is writing with movement, small, and broad, of astonishing economy and painful, precise splendor.
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Reading Progress

03/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Maureen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maureen  & Family Thank you for writing such a beautiful review. I really enjoyed reading it. I just started the book and am 1/3 the way through it.

Rebecca As a male reader, what do you make of the unforgiving light men are in the story are cast? Did you find it accurate and fair?

message 3: by Carl (new) - added it

Carl Excellent review. I shall add it to my list.

Glenn Maureen wrote: "Thank you for writing such a beautiful review. I really enjoyed reading it. I just started the book and am 1/3 the way through it. "

Well, it only took me four years to respond, and I read the book probably 8 years ago!!!

I think since the portrayal of the men comes from an honest place and is not jarring to the narrative, I think it rings true.

message 5: by Carl (new) - added it

Carl I believe you were responding to Rebecca's question.

Glenn Carl wrote: "I believe you were responding to Rebecca's question."

Indeed I was!! My reply to you only would have been 18 months! :)

Hope you liked the book.

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