Customer Reviews for

Space Between Us

Average Rating 4
( 223 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Compelling, emotional read!

This book is a glimpse into a world which describes the Indian culture, set in Bombay; a story of Sera Dubash, an educated and wealthy widow and Bhima, her illiterate maid. The story explores the challenges women face in their relationships with men and how the conseque...
This book is a glimpse into a world which describes the Indian culture, set in Bombay; a story of Sera Dubash, an educated and wealthy widow and Bhima, her illiterate maid. The story explores the challenges women face in their relationships with men and how the consequences of these difficulties are starkly different depending on education and class. The women have surprisingly similar lives and struggles. Both have experienced love and loss. They have suffered greatly because of their mistakes and because of the misfortune of being born a woman. Each has an unhappy marriage. Bhima's husband has abandoned her after an accident robs him of three fingers and his manhood. He leaves her and takes Bhima's son, whom she never sees again. Sera has a vindictive mother-in-law and a husband who abuses her physically. There are many layers and was a wonderful source of a many layered discussion in my book club, class and culture, struggle to cope, loyalty, abuse, prejudice and much more. This is truly eye-opening, emotionally wrenching, a compelling, engaging read! I recommend!!

Others I recommend, some from reading in my book club, others I read on the side and loved, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, PERFECT, EXPLOSION IN PARIS.I, personally, LOVE books that glory in the woman's triumph, fight for womanhood.

posted by LCH47 on May 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but predictable

At first glance this book sounded wonderful, however, by the end I was let down and little bored. The comparison of class was presented nicely and I was very much transported to India, however the character development left a lot to be desired. The main characters ca...
At first glance this book sounded wonderful, however, by the end I was let down and little bored. The comparison of class was presented nicely and I was very much transported to India, however the character development left a lot to be desired. The main characters came across flat and while I sympathized with Bhima's situation it felt forced. The ending was predictable as the character involved gave away clues to readily throughout the story. I would have loved to have seen more secondary character development with the young girls.

posted by GiveMeABookAndCoffee on September 27, 2012

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Slightly dramatic in the telling but as usual, Umrigar's writing is lovely.

    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.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    Good book club book

    The author writes beautifully and realistically about the class society in India. One member of the club, who has lived in India, knew the locations described and said the characterizations were perfect. Another member, who has never been to India, said she felt as if she were there because it was so easy to visualize the author's descriptions of the region and the lifestyles of the poor and the wealthy. The book contains pathos, brutality, deception, and poverty,but also delves into the relationships between women of upper and lower class and how they share so much and care for each other - up to a point. This point is a wall that cannot be climbed and represents the "space between us". There are some fabulous passages that have wonderful imagery. The book club nearly to a person enjoyed the book and it made for some very lively discussion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Humbling Read

    This was a very thoughtful and humbling story about the differences within caste systems in India. The characters are so approachable and accessible that it is easy to feel their emotions throughout the story.
    I really enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    interesting, challenging, thought provoking.

    Umrigar has given the reader much to think about. It is in some ways an Indian version of The Help, only it involves only one family. Amazingly, the caste system in India allows servants to do absolutely everything, including caring for their children and preparing meals, etc., but once again, does not allow the servant to share meals, etc. The servant in this story does know how to manipulate the mistress for help in situations that would not allow the servant, on her own, to be assisted. Space Between Us is a very good read; I would imagine the women of India would enjoy it as much as The Help was the best read in this country.

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My entire book club enjoyed The Space Between Us. Umriger is a wonderful writer who speaks to the realities of life in India.

    Strongly recommend this for anyone interested in racial inequality, prejudice and life in other countries. Very real.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful characters - good book club discussion

    This was a quick read, wonderful characters good for book club discussion. The well-written story line and relationships between characters unfolds throughout the story. Kept me interested throughout the entire book. Excellent thought provoking discussions regarding class, servant/master relationships, prejudice, and family. This was worth reading.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    slumdog millionaire

    Our book club enjoyed and we had a great discussion, timely

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    The Common Bonds that Unite all Women

    This wonderful book set in Bombay, India will touch you and keep<BR/>you involved from the first page. The writing is beautiful and<BR/>compelling. Her strongest suit is the great and very real <BR/>characters especially Bhima and Sera and May. She knows these<BR/>people as she lived Sera's life herself and had servants in India.<BR/> Bhima's struggles and great love for her children and granddaughter<BR/>will touch you emotionally and you will also have empathy for Sera<BR/>who's life is not as perfect as she would have people believe.<BR/> This is a brilliant book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2006

    loved this book

    I really enjoyed this book. One of my favorite reads this summer

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