Saturday, July 31, 2010

Read a Long: The Space Between Us - Final Installment

Lisa from Lit and Life has hosted "Thrity Thursdays" aka a readalong of The Space Between Us by Thrity Urmigar.  This is week the final week of the read a long - I missed posting the last 2 weeks due to some craziness at work and I have to admit that read straight through the book after week 2 because I was enjoying it so much!  My first two posts are here and here.

In the first part of the book, Urmigar sets up each character giving the reader a picture of who they are today while providing brief glimpses into the pasts that created them.  We meet Bhima, see hardships she endures daily and feel her disappointment and frustration with her granddaughter Maya who has dropped out of university due to an unexpected pregnancy.  We also meet Sera, for whom Bhima serves as a housekeeper and cook; she is a proud, self-contained woman but it is clear there is much beneath the surface.   In addition to presenting these two characters, Urmigar begins to demonstrate the "space" between them - both literal (floor versus chair; slum versus highrise) and metaphorical (high versus low class, educated vs. uneducated).

In the last half of the book,  the pasts of each of these characters unfold and we learn how they have been shaped by their experiences as young women.  Their stories unfold rather quickly in the last half of the book and we learn that although these women are at very different stations in society they have both suffered in their own ways and been deeply hurt by those they most love.  Loss and betrayal is the great equalizer for these women.  I did feel, however, that Bhima's losses were more tragic.  With limited resources, she seemed less equipped to recover from what befalls her.  In addition, she was betrayed by her husband but also by society when she was taken advantage of due to her lack of education.  The deck seemed so stacked against her and I found the inevitability of her fate due to the class into which she was born very grim.

Urmigar is a talented writer - this book was beautifully written with excellent character development - while still being easy to read.   I will certainly be reading more by this author!


  1. I bought this a few weeks ago because I loved The Weight of Heaven so much. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it!

  2. I definitely need to read this author! Have enjoyed the read-along posts, too.