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The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us

Написано Thrity Umrigar

Озвучено Purva Bedi


The Space Between Us

Написано Thrity Umrigar

Озвучено Purva Bedi

оценки:
4/5 (54 оценки)
Длина:
12 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781470337087
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

Best-selling author Thrity Umrigar won the Nieman Fellowship and earned a finalist spot for the PEN/Beyond Margins award with The Space Between Us. Set in modern-day India, this evocative novel follows upper-middle-class Parsi housewife Sera Dubash and 65-year-old illiterate household worker Bhima as they make their way through life. Though separated by their stations in life, the two women share bonds of womanhood that prove far stronger than the divisions of class or culture.
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781470337087
Формат:
Аудиокнига


Об авторе

Thrity Umrigar is the author of seven novels Everybody’s Son, The Story Hour, The World We Found, The Weight of Heaven, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time; a memoir, First Darling of the Morning; and a children’s picture book, When I Carried You in My Belly. A former journalist, she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard and was a finalist for the PEN Beyond Margins Award. A professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.  

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54 оценки / 41 Обзоры
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  • (5/5)
    Amazing! Heart-breaking her beautiful story about women and all their sufferings.
  • (5/5)
    A novel about a wealthy woman and her downtrodden servant, which offers a revealing look at class and gender roles in modern day Bombay. Alternatively told through the eyes of Sera, a Parsi widow whose pregnant daughter and son-in-law share her elegant home, and Bhima, the elderly housekeeper who must support her orphaned granddaughter.When we first meet Bhima, she is sharing a thin mattress with Maya, the granddaughter upon whom high hopes and dreams were placed, only to be shattered by an unexpected pregnancy and its disastrous consequences. As time goes on, we learn that Sera and her family have used their power and money time and time again to influence the lives of Bhima and Maya, from caring for Bhima's estranged husband after a workplace accident, to providing the funds for Maya's college education. We also learn that Sera's seemingly privileged life is not as it appears; after enduring years of cruelty under her mother-in-law's roof, she faced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, pain that only Bhima could see and alleviate. The two women share a close bond, which is broken when Bhima accuses Sera’s son in law of having an affair with Sera and getting her pregnant.
  • (4/5)
    Bhima is a poor Hindu servant, abandoned by her husband. Sera is her employer, a middle-class Parsi woman whose late husband was abusive and whose mother-in-law was a nightmare. The space between them, due to class, is undeniable, despite their shared experiences as women. One of the questions the book poses is whether class or gender is more definitive of Indian women's lives. We could, of course, pose the same question in any culture. I ran hot and cold as I was reading, but ultimately liked this one. lIt is smaller in scale than A Fine Balance, my favorite book set in India, and sometimes I feared it was going to descend to "women's fiction" territory, but its seriousness of purposes creeps up on the reader. I also enjoyed the language of the book, especially all the Indian rhyming slang. In its evocation of slum life and the rapidly changing economy and culture of India, I could see it being read as a complement to Behind the Beautiful Forevers - like Katherine Boo, the author is a journalist.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book in the ARC version back in 2007 and this is what I thought of it then: Ohhh ... I so loved this book. Right from a few pages in and all the way through. My only reservation was the lack of a Hindi vocabulary in the back (but maybe that has been added to the "real" published book) - as I would have loved to know that they were eating all the time.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed the book very much , especially for the glimpse into a different culture that it offers. I also enjoyed the relationships the book explored between family members, people of different means and class , relationships between women in general. The story is another example of how we all experience some of the very same problems no matter where we live and of how money and means cannot buy happiness, it can only make you more comfortable in your misery.
  • (5/5)
    excellent book!Set in Bombay and based on a real person, this novel explores the impact of gender and class on women and the struggle to reconcile the differences. The relationships between generations, employer/servants, spouses are explored with sensitivity and heartbreak. The characters are strong and well defined. Their lives swirl around strong desires and attempts to break free of long established social barriers.The ending is something of a twist and beautifully written.Just a snippet:"And now she finally understands what she has always observed on people's faces when they are at the seaside... she would notice how people's faces turned slightly upward when they stared at the sea, as if they were straining to see a trace of God or were hearing the silent humming of the universe... people's faces became soft and wistful... sniffing the salty air for transcendence, for something that would allow them to escape the familiar prisons of their own skin."
  • (5/5)
    Before I start on the review of the book I want to express that this is one of the nicest books I have received lately in regards to the cover, binding and pages. It has an old-fashioned feel to the pages; they are not smooth on the ends, they have that rough finish you used to find on older books. The cover is stunning in person - I can't begin to express how the flat picture does nothing to convey the depth of the book you hold in your hand.Now on to the story. It was amazing. A book I found myself still thinking about days after I had turned the final page. It is not a happy or light or breezy book by any definition but it is a book where the writer's way with words enters into your thoughts and you find yourself thinking about some of life's big questions.In the novel we meet Bhima, a woman of the slums of Bombay who has not had a very good life. She has worked for years for Sera and her family and feels like part of their family despite not being allowed to sit on the furniture or drink or eat from their dishes. Sera, an upper class woman from a progressive family married into an old fashioned family and found herself being abused by both her mother in law and husband but did nothing about it. Bhima knew all of Sera's secrets and Sera helped Bhima through some of the worst times of her life - including Bhima's current crisis when her 17 year old granddaughter comes home pregnant.These two women are intimately entwined yet worlds apart. When those two worlds meet they realize just how far apart they truly are. And the fallout is devastating for both of them.I had a hard time putting this book down and if it hadn't been garden season I think I would have read it all in one sitting. Then I would have read it again. Despite the sadness that pervades the book I was still left uplifted at the end because of the strength of Bhima's character. Don't get me wrong - she is a very hard to like woman but she was formed that way by the forces of her life. I had less sympathy for Sera because the way to change should have been much easier for her being educated and wealthy. She made small inroads but she couldn't make the big ones.Ms. Umrigar's writing is lyrical. Whether describing the beach or the communal toilet in a slum you get a true feel for where you are in the story. She weaves her words and takes you directly into the lives of her characters; the good, the bad and the ugly. I did see the big ending coming long before the end but it did not detract from the story at all. I would so love to see the follow-up to the lives of Bhima, Sera and Maya.
  • (3/5)
    I have been nursing this book for months! Having heard how strict the caste system is in India, I was looking forward to reading how this book would shed light on that. Initially, I was very excited about reading my first Indian fiction novel but by the end of it I was just trying to finish. There were passages that held my interest but then the text would go into another “black hole.” Bhima is Sera Dubash’s domestic “help.” These women could not be any more different or alike. They both watched the men they fell in love with and marry turn into men they hardly recognize. They both are fiercely loyal to their children. They both have hate sticking to the back of their throats. Sera hates her overbearing mother-in-law. Bhima hates being illiterate. These are just some of the issues these women have to juggle. Even though these women were from very different backgrounds they share a bond. Their lives seem to mirror each other’s emotionally. I found Bhima’s character to be utterly depressing but I admired her fierce resilience. The book’s jacket described her as stoic which was also true. Considering the cards that life dealt Bhima, I’m only sure I would not be walking around bubbly either. Even though Sera is upper middle class her “privilege” did not alter her low emotional state. Sera was a whiner who had no real identity outside of being Feroz’s wife and Dinaz’s mother. Maya, Bhima’s granddaughter, brings a shift to the text but her fate is not a joyous one either. Bhima often reminisces about an Afghanistan balloon artist she used to see on the beach who she “hears” at the end of the story. This is quite strange considering she never spoke with him. The somewhat constant reference to him throughout the text was just awkward to me. There was a twist to this story and it cut the thread that bound Bhima and Sera's relationship.I really wanted to like this story but it was such a slow read. The ending did not even redeem the story for me. The characters were stale they had depth but overall they were lacking a “spark”. The story itself was not lacking it dealt with some major issues like domestic violence, AIDS, and abortion just to name a few. I did like the fact how Umrigar made the city of “Bombay” to be a character. Even though The Space Between Us did not hit the mark for me, I am looking forward to reviewing Umrigar’s new novel, The World We Found (set to be released 1/2012). I plan on, The World We Found, to be my first review of 2012 (hopefully) thanks to the ARC I received courtesy of my friends at Harper Books.
  • (5/5)
    Beautifully written account of two women in India, one wealthy and one her maid. The difficulties of both of the women's lives is obvious but their every day survival is dramatic. A wonderful read!
  • (4/5)
    Takes place in Bombay. About the lives of a middle class woman and her servant, and the class differences between them — a very good book.
  • (4/5)
    This was a beautifully written story of two women. On the surface, they appear to be friends, although one, Sera, is the middle class employer of Bhima, who lives in a slum. In theme, it reminded me of The Help: the idea that someone could work in your home, care for your children, wash your clothes and prepare your food, that you could treat them well, but still consider them as less than you in some way. Bhima works for Sera for years. She knows the most intimate details of Sera's life. She loves Sera's child like her own. Bhima has to leave her own children at home, even when they are ill, to go care for Sera's family. In return, Sera is kind to Bhima, gossips with her, trusts her with money and other personal details, but when she has an opportunity to defend Bhima against an unfair accusation, class distinction rears its ugly head. While most of this story is sad, it is beautifully written and ends with a sense of hope rather than despair. I didn't want it to end.
  • (3/5)
    I really enjoyed it, especially the glimpse it allowed onto the way people live in India. I believe it to be fairly accurate. I loved the way it was told, for me it made it even more realistic: the emotions described as dramatically as I would expect, words doubled and changed, the deminutives, Indian expressions - everything intertwined so lively. An extremely interesting read.
  • (5/5)
    Wonderful story of two women on different sides of the Indian Caste system. One of my favorites!
  • (4/5)
    Compelling story of two women set in current-day Bombay. Sera Dabesh is an upper middleclass Parsi, Bhima her Hindu domestic. Bhima faces a sea of hardships, including the loss of her daughter to AIDS and her husband to alcoholism. Sera is trapped in an abusive marriage. The narrative was a bit histrionic for this reader but nonetheless paints a very human face on the issue of modern poverty and class differences.
  • (5/5)
    Overall, The Space Between Us, is a heartbreaking but real and refreshing read. If you like modern fiction that transforms your world and transports you to another place (in this case Bombay, India), then I do not think you will be disappointed. Thrity Umrigar's voice is stunning and beautiful; the prose was truly remarkable. The themes were very heavy and often disturbing, but I do not think they could have been handled in a more delicate manner.
  • (4/5)
    As much as I enjoyed reading this book, I found it to be a bit soap opera-ish. This happens, then that happens, then there is a shocking revelation…cue music. It’s very dramatic at times. Part of that I think is due to the fact that it’s set in another country. The use of language is different so the emphasis is different with some words, which to me, makes it sound more dramatic.For whatever reason, the middle class tends to rhyme their words when speaking in this novel. I can’t remember word for word what was said, but “friends schlends” for example. As they tsk tsk over something…they lapse into rhyming their words. This seemed odd to me. Was this an attempt at being cute? To perhaps lend some lightness to the conversation? I’m not sure, but it happened at least three times (that I can recall) and it made me wonder if they really talk like that in India. [I've since learned that yes, this is an authentic way of speaking in India].As for the story itself, I liked the way Umrigar balanced what is essentially two parallel stories and brought them together. Her descriptive passages leave nothing to the imagination. Every sight and sound and sometimes even smell is accounted for. The scenes at Chowpatty Beach are so vivid, albeit brief. I was completely wrapped up in that world while reading the book.As this is now my second Umrigar book, I have to say that she has a very distinct way of writing and an unfailing sense of who her characters are. I think I enjoyed The Space Between Us a bit more than The Weight of Heaven. It seemed a bit more authentic to me, even with the dramatic undertones. Both would make excellent book club picks.
  • (2/5)
    I actually read this book twice--once when it was first published, and now for an upcoming book club meeting. It's a little depressing, no? But poignant, too, in parts. All in all reflective of how customs and traditions help mask clear misdeeds and insults.
  • (4/5)
    The Space Between Us is a story set in India. It focuses on two women living their lives through heartbreaking betrayal, tragedy, death and overwhelming joy. Bhima is an old, sad, uneducated woman who resides in the slums and works for a rich family. Serabai is Bhima's mistress. She lives a life that Bhima is jealous of. She has education, riches and power. Throughout the years of working for Serabai, Bhima and she have become close and even friendly despite their employer/employee status. Through the most unlikely of friendships they take care of each other and have a connection that is as fascinating to the two women as it is to the reader. We also meet Maya, Bhima's granddaughter and only remaining family member. And Dinaz who is Serabai's only daughter. We learn about the history of Bhima's joyous marriage which is contrasted by the monster of a man that Serabai took as a husband. Through these and other life stories, we see that two women who are so different are so very similar.
  • (5/5)
    The author is an expert in creating the atmosphere of: a crowded sweaty Bombay, a slum lean-to, the relationship between two women of differing classes, the struggles of women and men, and that moment when one comes to know one's own freedom in the world. This is a very easy read and very rewarding.
  • (4/5)
    My final reaction to this book suggests it reads like a modern Greek tragedy. The juxtaposition between the two families speaks of a huge class 'space' quite unknown outside of India. The author has the advantage, from my perspective, of knowing the cultural and social environment that is seen very clearly with her.The 'space' speaks of a distance between the various religious and class factors wider than can be bridged between nations. I found it a sad novel, always hoping that a real ray of sunshine would burst forth for both of the women, Sera and Bhima, in the book. The final chapter I found quite tragic. Whatever relationship had been built up over the years was quite suddenly wiped out. The story sort of fizzled out for me at that point.However, that fact aside, I found the novel offered an educational glimpse into a way of life unknown in my part of North America.
  • (1/5)
    Not enough time. Will try to get it again.
  • (4/5)
    A compelling author, but a difficult read because of the subject matter.
  • (3/5)

    I loved this book !!!

  • (3/5)
    Not my usual sort of book to read. It's all literary and book discussiony! This one was brought to my attention along with another book and this one sounded the more interesting, mostly as it was about India.And that's mostly what it has going for it. I did not particularly like the characters and the book was a downer the entire way through. Sure, it says important things about class and gender roles, education and the lack of it, money and the lack of it, power and the lack of it, but not in a particularly enjoyable way.Yet I can't say it was a hard read. Just a depressing one.I did learn things about India that I didn't know before. I did think about class in a different way. I'm quite probably a better person for having read it.But still. Downer.
  • (4/5)
    Compelling and beautfully written. I would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that all of the male characters were bad/weak/evil -- which seemed a bit unbelievable. Definitely about the women and their lives and struggles. Wonderful view of life in India. I have a few Indian-American friends and I could just hear their lilting accents in the prose of the book. Warning: if you like Indian food you will be hungry for it the whole time you read the book. You may also need a box of kleenex. This was a surprisingly fast read and another I probably wouldn't have read, but read for book club.
  • (4/5)
    Set in India, this is a story woven around two compelling, but very different, women. This book stayed with me for a long time. I loved the writing and found many quotable quotes.
  • (4/5)
    I had just finished the White Tiger by Aravind Adiga which I found so so. I loved Thrity Umrigars beautiful writing. It gave me a chilling close look into the lives of two women living in contempory India.
  • (4/5)
    The relationship between a woman and her servant seems close. The woman believes she is open minded and liberal, that she is not class conscious as others in India. But what this book does is show that class differences do sometimes live in our subconscious and it's only when situations arise that threaten the lives of those close to us, that the prejudices surrounding caste consciousness will rise and cloud our judgement.
  • (3/5)
    I read this one because I really liked Under The Weight of Heaven. Although this one had an interesting plot (about the relationship between the servent and her boss, set in modern day India), it fell flat for me. The writing seemed clunky and there wasn't a lot of depth to the characters. If the ending had been different, I probably would have given it a higher rating.
  • (5/5)
    "The Space Between Us" is the story of a middle-class Parsi woman, Sera, and Bhima, her servant. Bhima's home in the slums sharply contrasts Sera's sparkling, large home. The two women have forged a connection through their years together, their families linked inextricably. The story brings into focus the vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots of India, exploring with gorgeous subtlety the meaning of loyalty and of freedom. Umrigar's language is lush and descriptive but not a word is wasted. She is able to create a detailed world and to place the reader in the shoes of several different characters. A fascinating story carries her timeless message about the need to further question class divisions and the other lines we construct that separate us from each other. A gorgeous novel; highly recommended.