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The Space Between Us    by Thrity Umrigar order for
Space Between Us
by Thrity Umrigar
Order:  USA  Can
Perennial, 2007 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Set in modern-day India, this novel depicts a searing view of the consequences when people fail to pay attention to each other. Sera is a middle-class widow whose servant of many years, Bhima, has come to seem as close as a sister. They have shared each other's lives, the difficulties of their respective marriages, their hopes for their children. But when they take tea together, Bhima squats on the floor, drinking out of a cup she alone uses, one that is stored with her few possessions away from the family's dishware.

Bhima's granddaughter Maya has gotten pregnant, a blow for both, since Maya is the first female in the family to get an education, giving her a chance to escape the hardship of poverty and ignorance that has been Bhima's fate. But Bhima's and Sera's attempt to help Maya finally leads to a confrontation that is disastrous for the two older women, who have lived through so much together.

Exceedingly well written, this novel can easily stand among the best of contemporary Indian fiction. Author Umrigar makes every word count. The Space Between Us presents an eloquent message and deserves a wide reading. I can hardly wait to recommend it to my book group.

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