Thrity Umrigar’s novel The Space Between Us follows the lives of two women, Serabai and Bhima, from completely different classes in India, who despite their social and economic differences, are in fact alike. Both of these women envisioned a life filled with happiness and fulfillment that were more than attainable, but fell short due to the circumstances each woman has been through. The Space Between Us takes a look at gender and class, and how they relate to social and economic factors in modern day India.
The Space Between Us follows the lives of Serabai and Bhima. Due to their positions in society it is at first hard to consider these characters as being very similar. Coming from different social and economic backgrounds, one would think that these women would have not much in common. Serabai comes from an upper-middle class family, is wealthy, and lives in an upscale house. Bhima on the other hand, has worked for Serabai for the last twenty years as a maid and lives in the slums. Bhima has had a hard life thus far, filled with many disappointments. Many of these have stemmed from her husband, who after tragically loosing three of his fingers in a work related accident, turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. He eventually abandons her and takes her son with him. Bhima’s life becomes more tragic when both her daughter and son in-law die of AIDS and leave their daughter Maya in Bhima’s care. Despite all of these tragedies Bhima does not let these tragedies break her. She