Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 9-13

23 Oct

Read Along 2

Here’s the third installment of the virtual book club I’m hosting. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. And if you think you want to join up, send me an email! We’d love to have you. There are three of us currently; myself, Claudia, and Ashlee. Let’s jump right into the questions!

Question from AshleeWho do you feel more strongly attached to – Sera or Bhima? And why? 

I’m on Team Bhima. I love an underdog and I think Bhima encompasses that phrase in every sense of the word! To add to her woes (which I’ll admit Sera has every bit as badly), she lives in a slum where disease and filth are everywhere and she has no privacy or possessions of value. I want something good to happen to her so badly. I’m completely committed to her story.


Question from ClaudiaDo you believe that Bhima is even looking to find happiness? Peace? Rest? Does she have hope at all for her own life since she is always looking out for the good of others?

I think Bhima is a person who draws happiness from those around her and her ability to make others happy. My husband is like this. If I’m in a good mood, he’s happy. If I’m upset but he can cheer me up, he’s happy. But if I’m in a bad mood and inconsolable, it doesn’t just bring his mood down, but makes him angry, upset, and slightly depressed. He tries his best to help me out and failing at that makes him feel like a failure for as long as my mood lasts. I see Bhima in a similar way. I think if Maya succeeds or things to well for Sera, Bhima feels success. She wants to help those around her and feels herself going up on their coattails, even if it’s just an emotional high. I love Bhima, I see a lot of my mother in her caring nature. I think that, if anything, she’s looking for stability and she’s bothered by all the change around her. I hope she can find that.


Ashlee has supplied our musing topic for this week and I really like it: Failed marriages and how they ruin everything. I hadn’t realized how many failed marriages there are in this story! I remember meeting the author and someone telling me she’d never married and didn’t seem interested. She lives alone, teaches and writes and cares for her elderly father. She doesn’t really have the time to date and seems fine with it. Knowing that, the theme of failed marriages seems a strange topic to push in this book.

It’s easy to find the marriages that have failed: Banu and Freddie, Sera and Feroz, and Bhima and Gopal. But what about strong marriages? Dinaz and Feroz is a good example. Ashlee already mused on how she’s afraid something bad will happen to them. I sincerely hope it doesn’t! Pooja and Raju are another interesting example. Pooja had a very poor example set for her by her mother and father yet stays strong in sticking with Raju. When it’s implied he was unfaithful, she makes her marriage stronger by preferring to think of him as she remembered in marriage rather than changing her idea of him so close to death. I think that’s very strong and shows her ability to forgive. Pooja was unable to forgive Gopal for hurting her as a girl, but she can forgive Raju now. I think that shows incredible growth and maturity. Yay Pooja.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along. Please drop me a line if you are interested in joining us; we have so much fun doing these!

Until next time, write on.

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7 Responses to “Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 9-13”

  1. Ashlee October 23, 2014 at 5:12 PM #

    I love your observation that Bhima pulls her happiness from others. I think you’re dead on with that. We don’t know (or I don’t remember) a whole lot about her dreams, her passions, and I’m sure she spent most of her life working too hard to ever think of frilly things like those. But when she gets to help or watch someone else succeed, she sees the value she brought to their life.

    Excited to jump into the next set of chapters. All great stuff so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam October 23, 2014 at 6:47 PM #

      I say that I’m rooting for good things for Bhima, but I’m really rooting for Maya, too because I think her success will make Bhima happy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Claudia {SparrowHawk} October 25, 2014 at 1:57 AM #

      I sense that if we all were a bit like Bhima, (in that we place others before ourselves) the world would be a much happier place. That’s not to discredit those who already live in such a way. 🙂


  2. Claudia {SparrowHawk} October 25, 2014 at 1:55 AM #

    I am deeply committed to Bhima’s story too Sam, and like you, I am also anticipating a happy ending for her.

    Also, my husband is identical to the way you’ve described your husband; in the sense that, my happiness is his ultimate happiness. Often times, I find myself submerged in terrible guilt, because my Ben’s selfless pursuit towards my happiness rivals my own! He is obviously winning by a long shot, but who’s keeping score! 😉 His unselfish love is the driving force that carries my love for him (gee, sorry to over bubble this comment with my sappy love life ha ha)! But how could you not love someone who utterly denies themselves for your sake?

    Anyways, I too have felt the weightiness of the failed marriages in this novel, and strangely enough, I have not been blinded to them. Perhaps the reason why you have not paid much attention to them is because like you said, you had the honor to listen to the author share her life story and testimonies?

    Still, I also am hoping that nothing terrible transpires between Dinaz and Viraf! But Sam I especially loved how you mused on the relationship between Pooja and Raju, her ability to forgive Raju must have taken a great deal of fortitude! Her love was so evident, even unto death, and it moved my heart with so much compassion towards Raju. Isn’t it fascinating how an author can do this through the actions and words of a fictional character? I love books! And book clubs! 🙂


    • Sam October 26, 2014 at 9:31 PM #

      Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Bhima to have a happy ending! I really want it to happen.

      When I heard Umrigar speak, she mentioned how her parents marriage was strained, which is something she mentions in her memoir. I think Freddy and Banu are based on her parents, but the characterization is much stronger than in her life. It’s interesting to see the author’s life in her work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anita June 6, 2019 at 2:15 PM #

    I realize that you wrote this review a few years ago, but as someone who just finished this book today, I wanted to see what others have said about it. Lots of really great analysis here – I was going to offer one explanation for the Pooja / Raju story.

    I think Thrity is suggesting that Raju might have contracted AIDS through sexual encounters with other men (the timelines fit with the height of AIDS in the US, which might have been an inspiration for a writer living in the US). Because when Bhima asks Pooja if Raju had been sleeping with other women, Pooja brushes it off and basically says, “He loved me and treated me like a queen” – which may not have been the response if he was unfaithful but does make sense if they shared his secret together (e.g. that he might be gay).



    • Sam June 6, 2019 at 2:41 PM #

      As you say, I read this a few years ago but I’m starting to remember the story from your comments.

      I hadn’t thought of that but I think it’s a likely possibility. India only recently decriminalized homosexuality so it makes sense that he would keep that secret. Thanks for commenting! Happy reading.


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