Dianne's Reviews > The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa
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Sep 02, 10

Read from September 01 to 02, 2010

Wow, what a wonderful book this is! Who would have thought that a book that contains quite a lot of mathematical formulae, lots of discussion of number theory, and detailed descriptions of Japanese baseball games and players could also be so warm, so human, and so utterly endearing?

I finished the book last night and just sat there, staring into space, savoring the pleasure of it all. As I don't speak or read Japanese, I can only imagine that the translator must be absolutely brilliant, because the story is fluid, engaging and beautiful.

The story is simple: a housekeeper with a 10-year-old son is assigned to care for an elderly, brilliant mathematician who suffered a severe head injury in a car accident years before, leaving him with short-term memory loss. He can only remember the previous 80 minutes, although his memory of the time before the accident is intact. The housekeeper and the boy nevertheless become close friends of the mathematician, learning a bit about his past and developing a true family relationship with him.

That's it...sounds like nothing, right? But as the old man encourages the boy to learn mathematics, more than numbers are being taught. What a complete pleasure this book is!

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