The Space Between Us

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$17.99  $16.73
Harper Perennial
Publish Date
5.6 X 7.96 X 0.89 inches | 0.58 pounds

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About the Author

Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The Space Between Us was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award, while her memoir was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. If Today Be Sweet was a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection, while her other books have been Community Reads selections. Thrity is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize.

Thrity was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. As a Parsi child attending a Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu country, she had the kind of schizophrenic and cosmopolitan childhood that has served her well in her life as a writer. Accused by teachers and parents alike of being a daydreaming, head-in-the-clouds child, she grew up lost in the fictional worlds created by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Woolf and Faulkner. She would emerge long enough from these books to create her own fictional and poetic worlds. Encouraged by her practical-minded parents to get an undergraduate degree in business, Thrity survived business school by creating a drama club and writing, directing and acting in plays. Her first short stories, essays and poems were published in national magazines and newspapers in India at age fifteen.
After earning a M.A. in journalism in the U.S., Thrity worked for several years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Thrity won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University, which is given to mid-career journalists.

"Umrigar is a perceptive and often piercing writer.... Her portrait of Sera as a woman unable to transcend her middle-class skin feels bracingly honest." -- New York Times Book Review

"[The Space Between Us] is a great book; I love it.... I couldn't stop reading until Bhima had her amazing epiphany of freedom at the edge of the sea. I am so happy for Thrity Umrigar! And proud of her as a woman, too.... It is so precious to have a book about a woman one rarely even "sees" in society, whether Indian or American." -- Alice Walker on THE SPACE BETWEEN US

"Remarkable.... What makes The Space Between Us so engrossing is its ability to make readers feel empathy for its subjects.... To read Umrigar's novel is to catch a glimpse of a foreign culture, for better and for worse. Yet while the class divide between Bhima and Sera provides much of the conflict in The Space Between Us, it isn't the only source of disagreement. Class colors everything, but in the end, Umrigar shows, every one of life's ups and downs are available to us all." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Thrity Umrigar has created two wonderfully sympathetic characters who do much to make [India's] complex nature comprehensible.... This is a story intimately and compassionately told against the sensuous background of everyday life in Bombay.... The life of the privileged is harshly measured against the life of the powerless, but empathy and compassion are evoked by both strong women, each of whom is forced to make a separate choice. Umrigar is a skilled storyteller, and her memorable characters will live on for a long time." -- Frances Itani, Washington Post Book World

"With humanity and suspense, novelist Thrity Umrigar tackles love, loyalty, injustice - and survival." -- Marie Claire

"Umrigar renders a collection of compelling and complex characters, from kind, conflicted Sera to fiercely devoted Bhima. Sadness suffuses this eloquent tale, whose heart-stopping plot twists reveal the ferocity of fate." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Set in contemporary Bombay, Umrigar's second novel is an affecting portrait of a woman and her maid, whose lives, despite class disparity, are equally heartbreaking.... A subtle, elegant analysis of class and power. Umrigar transcends the specifics of two Bombay women and creates a novel that quietly roars against tyranny." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Poignant." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Umrigar's schematic novel illustrates the intimacy, and the irreconcilable class divide, between two women in contemporary Bombay.... Umrigar's writing achieves clarity." -- Publishers Weekly

"From page one, Thrity Umrigar's novel thrusts us into a story that's at once heartbreaking and soothing. Chronicling the tumultuous lives of two women, The Space Between Us doesn't flinch from its scrutiny of human suffering; then it gently, gently guides us toward healing." -- Samrat Upadhyay, author of The Royal Ghosts

"A deeply affecting novel about a wealthy widow and her maid, who form a bond across the gulfs of class and status in modern-day Bombay." -- Life magazine

"Sadness suffuses this eloquent tale, whose heart-stopping plot twists reveal the ferocity of fate." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Heartbreaking.... A subtle, elegant analysis of class and power... that quietly roars against tyranny." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Intimately and compassionately told.... Sensuous.... Umrigar's memorable characters will live on for a long time." -- Frances Itani, Washington Post Book World

"Umrigar is a perceptive and often piercing writer." -- New York Times Book Review

"[The Space Between Us] is provocative and disturbing." -- Boston Globe

"Umrigar is a highly skilled storyteller...the novel's plot and depth of characterisation provide irresistible momentum." -- Time Out New York

"Umrigar's imagery, gorgeous yet unflinching in its realism, creates a rich picture of Indian society in Bombay, from slum to skyscraper. Her symbolism is lovely." -- Charlotte Observer

"The Space Between Us is a novel that is hard to forget." -- The Times (London)