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The space between us
Thrity N. Umrigar
Adult Fiction

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Umrigar's schematic novel (after Bombay Time) illustrates the intimacy, and the irreconcilable class divide, between two women in contemporary Bombay. Bhima, a 65-year-old slum dweller, has worked for Sera Dubash, a younger upper-middle-class Parsi woman, for years: cooking, cleaning and tending Sera after the beatings she endures from her abusive husband, Feroz. Sera, in turn, nurses Bhima back to health from typhoid fever and sends her granddaughter Maya to college. Sera recognizes their affinity: "They were alike in many ways, Bhima and she. Despite the different trajectories of their lives-circumstances... dictated by the accidents of their births-they had both known the pain of watching the bloom fade from their marriages." But Sera's affection for her servant wars with ingrained prejudice against lower castes. The younger generation-Maya; Sera's daughter, Dinaz, and son-in-law, Viraf-are also caged by the same strictures despite efforts to throw them off. In a final plot twist, class allegiance combined with gender inequality challenges personal connection, and Bhima may pay a bitter price for her loyalty to her employers. At times, Umrigar's writing achieves clarity, but a narrative that unfolds in retrospect saps the book's momentum. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Family crisis closes up the space between wealthy Parsi widow Sera Dubash and her hardworking domestic, Bhima, whose granddaughter Sera is putting through university. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Bhima
Female
Age: 65
Married
Lives in the slums; cooks, cleans, and takes care of Sera.
Servant

Sera Dubash
Female
Married
Husband abuses her; nursed Bhima back to health from typhoid fever; sends Bhima's granddaughter to college; has a prejudice towards the lower classes.



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