Thrity Thursday! AKA “The Space Between Us” Read-Along – Week 5 (Final)

The Space Between Us

Welcome to Thrity Thursday, also known as “The Space Between Us” read-along. We’ll be reading the book over the next few weeks. Thanks to Lisa for putting it together and thanks to these other bloggers for joining in on the fun!

Dar at Peeking Between The Pages
Staci at Life In The Thumb
Kathy at Mommy’s Reading
Booksync at Book In The City
Bailey at The Window Seat Reader
Mari at Bookworm With A View

Chapters 21-25 (Final)

My Synopsis:

My hope is that after this read-along, some of you will get a copy of this book and read it on your own. Since that is my wish, my synopsis isn’t a play-by-play account of what I’ve read, but just a high-level overview of what took place. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. With that said…

In this week’s reading, the father of Maya’s unborn baby is revealed. Bhima’s knowledge of this causes her to question everything around her and presents a whole new set of problems for the woman to endure. As Dinaz’s pregnancy progresses, Maya is left to bitterly mourn her own baby’s fate. As shocked as Bhima is by Maya’s behavior, she can relate to how difficult it will be for Maya once Dinaz has her baby.

In the end, which I will not give away… Umrigar brings things to a close in a satisfying, yet realistic way.

My Thoughts:

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.

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.

Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai

Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai

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.

Source: Purchased.

Previous Weeks:

Week 1 & Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Thrity Thursdays! AKA “The Space Between Us” Read-Along – Week 4

The Space Between Us

Welcome to Thrity Thursday, also known as “The Space Between Us” read-along. We’ll be reading the book over the next few weeks. Thanks to Lisa for putting it together and thanks to these other bloggers for joining in on the fun!

Dar at Peeking Between The Pages
Staci at Life In The Thumb
Kathy at Mommy’s Reading
Booksync at Book In The City
Bailey at The Window Seat Reader
Mari at Bookworm With A View

Chapters 16-20

My Synopsis:

My hope is that after this read-along, some of you will get a copy of this book and read it on your own. Since that is my wish, my synopsis isn’t a play-by-play account of what I’ve read, but just a high-level overview of what took place. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. With that said…

In this week’s reading, we learn what happened to Bhima’s family. Particularly her husband Gopal, and her son Amit. From earlier chapters, it’s clear that Gopal and Bhima love each other, but after an accident at work, the family feels the strain of Gopal’s injury and the added pressure to make ends meet brings out the worst in Gopal.

Sera and Feroz’s influence is what saves Gopal’s life, but their influence is not able to prevent the gradual decline that further stresses Bhima and the family.

My Thoughts:

The decline of Bhima’s family is just heartbreaking. She tries so hard to provide a good life for her family, yet her struggle to do so is outweighed by Gopal’s inability to function as the family’s provider. As you can imagine, the ability for a man to provide for his family is a matter of pride and without it, the man is left feeling completely useless. Such is the case with Gopal. On the one hand, I was frustrated with Gopal, but on the other, I could totally relate to his predicament.

As the story progresses, I find myself more and more frustrated with Maya. She’s young and educated yet she comes across as being a bit of an airhead. Her questions to Bhima border on “irritating” and she doesn’t seem capable of reading between the lines. As the story comes to a close, my hope is that she comes full circle and learns something from the mistakes she’s made and appreciates how hard her grandmother works to keep them together.

Thrity Thursdays! AKA “The Space Between Us” Read-Along – Week 3

The Space Between Us

Welcome to Thrity Thursday, also known as “The Space Between Us” read-along. We’ll be reading the book over the next few weeks. Thanks to Lisa for putting it together and thanks to these other bloggers for joining in on the fun!

Dar at Peeking Between The Pages
Staci at Life In The Thumb
Kathy at Mommy’s Reading
Booksync at Book In The City
Bailey at The Window Seat Reader
Mari at Bookworm With A View

Chapters 12-15

My Synopsis:

My hope is that after this read-along, some of you will get a copy of this book and read it on your own. Since that is my wish, my synopsis isn’t a play-by-play account of what I’ve read, but just a high-level overview of what took place. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. With that said…

In this week’s reading, we learn a bit more about Maya’s parents and how Maya ended up living with her grandmother, Bhima. We also learn of Sera’s own difficulties and her struggle to understand her husband, Feroz and his wicked mother, Banu. Although Sera lives a more privileged life, her troubles are no less serious than that of Bhima’s.

My Thoughts:

One can argue that this novel is really two parallel stories that come together in a common way. I say this because Umrigar seems to pay equal time to both Bhima and Sera. I’ve read novels with this structure in the past, and they’ve always left me disappointed. I’m not feeling that here, though. Umrigar successfully weaves in and out of the lives of these women. Nothing feels forced. At the end of each chapter, I feel compelled to keep reading.

Whereas the first half of this book dealt with the present day, the second half seems to be focusing on the past and how things came to be. I tend to like it when an author manages to explain a character’s actions without it being force-fed to you in some manner.

So far the story is easy to follow and is filled with characters that I care about. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Thrity Thursdays! AKA “The Space Between Us” Read-Along – Weeks 1 & 2

The Space Between Us

Welcome to Thrity Thursday, also known as “The Space Between Us” read-along. We’ll be reading the book over the next few weeks. Thanks to Lisa for putting it together and thanks to these other bloggers for joining in on the fun!

Dar at Peeking Between The Pages
Staci at Life In The Thumb
Kathy at Mommy’s Reading
Booksync at Book In The City
Bailey at The Window Seat Reader
Mari at Bookworm With A View

Chapters 1-11

My Synopsis:

I am playing catch-up since I was supposed to post about the first six chapters last week, so I will keep this short.

Bhima and Maya live in the slums of Bombay. Bhima is Maya’s grandmother and makes her living working for Sera. Sera has money and lives with her daughter Dinaz and her husband, and they are expecting their first baby. Maya is also expecting her first baby, but it’s a baby produced out-of-wedlock, and the pregnancy promises nothing but shame for Maya and her grandmother.

The two families, although tied together by Bhima’s employment to Sera, have their own history. Both have shared disappointment and grief and both bear their own burdens. Sera’s money is what puts Maya through college, so it’s only normal for Sera to feel some resentment when Maya becomes pregnant. Bhima shares in that resentment and is grateful when Sera once again, comes to their aid, but there are hurt feelings as each struggle with what they’ve been given.

My Thoughts:

When I read The Weight of Heaven, I was charmed by Umrigar’s talent as a storyteller. I had no problem getting into the story and the same can be said with The Space Between Us. I worried about being able to catch-up with the others since I was so far behind in my reading, but over one, lovely day I opened the book and before I knew it, I was already eleven chapters in.

The difference in class is great, yet the two families respect one another and often find themselves baffled over their differences. Sera manages to be fascinated and repulsed at the same time while visiting Bhima in her slum hut. Bhima realizes that although Sera’s family has money, that there are secrets there as well. No family is perfect.

I am so taken with these characters, that reading about them, takes no effort at all. I look forward to the second half of the book and from what I’ve read, this would make a fabulous book club pick.

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