The Secrets Between Us

Harper. Jun. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062442208. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062442239. F
OrangeReviewStarThis 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.
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