Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Umrigar's luminous sequel to The Space Between Us continues the story of Bhima, now bereft of her position as servant in the present-day Mumbai household of Serabai Dubash and desperate to find some way to support herself and her granddaughter, Maya. Dinaz, Serabai's daughter, arrives and presents Bhima with a check for the decades of savings that have been in Serabai's keeping; Bhima immediately decides to use the funds to pay for Maya's college. While Bhima and Maya live in a hovel in Mumbai's slum, Parvati, the novel's other main character, sleeps in a doorway, scraping by on the small amounts of food she receives as charity. Chance circumstances bring the two women together to form a business partnership and they, Maya, and Bhima's new employers, Sunitabai and Chitra, become like family to one another. The leads have suffered immensely in life-for them, "everything is an ambush"-and yet neither surrenders. Umrigar writes her characters so that, rather than being pitiable, they have an admirable strength. Her amazing cast is coupled with shining prose and a plot that consistently startles and gratifies. This splendid tale should appeal to all readers with open hearts, regardless of their familiarity with the previous work or the culture of Mumbai. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by Library Journal Review
This new work continues novelist, journalist, and critic Umrigar's acclaimed second novel, The Space Between Us. Focusing on Bhima, one of the two main characters in that book, it picks up Bhima's story following her dismissal from the Dubash household, where she'd worked for more than two decades. It is Sera Dubash, with whom Bhima had shared an unusual intimacy given their class differences, who carries out the termination. The harshness of Sera's action is outweighed only by -Bhima's anxiety about how she will support her granddaughter Maya, who is expected to finish college. Umrigar once again deftly weaves the narratives of two women, this time juxtaposing Bhima's plight with that of Parvati, whose circumstances are even more desperate. Through the use of flashbacks as well as present-day events, the author reveals the secrets that led these women to the slums of Mumbai. VERDICT Picking up The Space Between Us first may enlighten readers about Bhima's backstory, but this title easily stands on its own. It chronicles the triumph of women's friendships and fortitude in the face of considerable obstacles-poverty, homophobia, illiteracy, gender discrimination, ageism, and sexual assault. It further displays Umrigar's insights into the deep resilience of the human heart.-Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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