and ramblings on everything in between
Over the past few months, Sam, Claudia, and myself have been reading, discussing, and blogging about The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. It.was.so.good! Add it to your must-read list. I promise you’ll enjoy it, no matter your reading preference.
Chapters 22 – 25
From Sam: On page 285, Chapter 23, Sera is talking about Maya and says, “Then we can think of getting a husband for her.” I’m struck by the ‘we’ in this sentence. Does Sera fell responsible for Maya’s upbringing? Does she think Bhima is incapable of helping Maya achieve more than being a house cleaner?
I wonder if Sera feels responsible for Maya more as a life-long friend of her grandma and not necessarily because she feels Bhima is incapable of providing. Sera’s wealth and position in society play a part in this, and I think she loves Bhima so much that she wants her and her grandchild to thrive. She is willing to help where she can and sees it as a joint effort. “We can help her get her life back,” shows a partnership between the two women. This closeness is what makes the ending so abrupt and unbelievable to me.
From Claudia: Sera’s response to Viraf’s accusation of Bhima came as a shock to me, were you shocked as well? Was your heart completely shattered along with Bhima’s after realizing that Sera, her one true friend, was slowly slipping away? Do you feel that Sera was forced to react in such a way, since Sera’s family & friends consider Bhima as one who “takes advantage” of Sera? I personally want to believe that this is the case, and that Sera will eventually come to her sense and invite Bhima’s friendship back into her life.
I felt that the ending escalated too quickly and honestly I didn’t find it believable. I know, I know – it’s a novel, willing suspension of disbelief, the author has to move the story along. Even with all of that considered, it still felt out of place. I really don’t believe that Sera would have thrown Bhima out on accusations when there was no prior behavior that was suspicious. If Sera did not care for Bhima as a friend and had treated her like a servant during the duration of Bhima’s time with the family, then I could see how Sera would be quick to accept Viraf’s lie as truth. This wasn’t the case, though. They shared a deep bond and Sera never once questioned Bhima’s loyalty to the family.
Sera was Bhima’s home in this world and to see that taken from her was hard. I don’t like being left with the feeling that the rich take what they want from the poor and there is no hope of breaking the cycle. Oh how I wish we could read about Sera’s response to Viraf after Bhima left. Did she ask him about why Bhima said those things? Did she believe his lies and convince herself that there was no way he was capable of doing that to Maya? Did she figure out the truth and throw Viraf out of the house and apologize to Bhima? We should write a continuation of the story, ladies!
Overall, a fantastic read that uniquely captured the parallels between two vastly different lives. Umrigar’s writing style was effortless and natural to read and that is what I loved most. I plan on adding another one of her novels to my reading list. A huge THANK YOU to Sam for putting this virtual book club together!