I rate books between 1 & 5 stars. I used to have descriptions of what these translate into – from “I couldn’t even finish it, or did so under threat of my fingernails being ripped off & fingers dunked in hot sauce” (1 star) to “I want everyone that I know to read this book” (5 stars).
However, when I look at my Shelfari shelf & see how many 5 star books I have on there, I occasionally feel the need for an extra star.
The Space Between Us is one such book. Seriously, I don’t know when I’ve read such an amazing and well written / crafted book.
First I must say that I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Ethnic books are typically just so-so for me. This one takes place in India, and the two main characters have a long standing middle class / servant relationship.
However, from the very beginning I was hooked. The imagery of India’s ghetto combined with the depth of real characters give the reader a heart attachment that continues throughout the book. You really feel for Bhima (the servant / grandmother) and while at times you cringe at what she says or does, you know in your heart you might have done or said the same. She’s completely human.
The theme of betrayal runs throughout the novel – betrayal by husbands, children and ultimately friends. Class & gender drive the decisions made by most of the characters, often leaving the question, “Where is personal freedom?”
This novel doesn’t just lend itself to discussion, it requires it.
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