Publisher Wm. Morrow, January 2006
Devastating in its power, remarkable in its achievement, here is a searing, addictively readable novel that vividly captures the delicate balance of class and gender in contemporary India—witnessed through the lives of two compelling women
Set in Bombay, The Space Between Us is a wondrously imagined, emotionally rich snapshot of modern India. Thrity Umrigar shows how the lives of rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other—captured in the lives of two achingly real women bound by friendship and loss, yet separated by blood and class.
Sera Dubash is an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hide years of disappointment and shame. A widow, she spends much of her time and energy fretting over her pregnant daughter, Dinaz, a kindhearted, educated professional, and her charming and successful son-in-law, Viraf.
Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, has worked as a domestic in the Dubash household for more than 20 years, cleaning furniture she is forbidden to sit on, washing glasses from which she is not allowed to drink. Cursed by fate, she sacrifices all for her beautiful, headstrong granddaughter, Maya, a university student whose education—paid for by Sera—will enable them to escape the slums.
Yet a crisis will test the ties that have united them—the pain, loneliness, love, and hope—and force them to reconcile their true loyalties. Poignant and compelling, evocative and unforgettable, The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world.
A journalist for 17 years, Thrity Umrigar has written for the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other national newspapers and regularly writes for the Boston Globe’s book pages. She teaches creative writing and journalism at Case Western Reserve University. The author of the novel Bombay Time and the memoir First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood, Umrigar was a winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University. She lives in Cleveland, OH.
“[Umrigar] displays an impressive talent for conceiving multidimensional, sympathetic characters with life-like emotional quandaries and psychological stumbling blocks.”
— Washington Post Book World
“Engaging… Umrigar is an accomplished, natural storyteller.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Bombay Time’s wonderful cast of characters and their tragically funny stories stay with you long after you finish reading this bittersweet novel. Thrity Umrigar’s heart is as big as her homeland, and this is a beautiful novel.”
— Brad Watson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Heaven of Mercury