Patty's Reviews > The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa
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Jan 25, 12

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bookshelves: memory, fiction, friendship, contemporary-fiction, japan, mothers-and-sons, disability, family, illness, math, mathematicians, literary-fiction, baseball, 2012
Read on January 26, 2012

My friend Chris gave this book to be a few years ago and it has been languishing on my shelf. I guess it was waiting until tonight when I desperately needed a diversion.

Imagine trying to live your life when you can only remember everything that happened before 1975 and the last 80 minutes. Seems impossible and improbable to me. However, that is where the professor is when the housekeeper first meets him.

I have no idea how Ogawa came up with this premise and then she makes the premise even more impossible. The professor's favorite topic is mathematics, especially prime numbers. To many people, the possibility of reading a novel about math sends shivers down their spines.

Ogawa has written a beautiful, quiet story of four people and the intersection of their lives. The premise is a bit weird, but the story is lovely. I learned some mathematics and more importantly a little bit about love. The love in this novel is unusual, but in Ogawa's hands it seems very reasonable and very possible.

I recommend this book to those who might want to learn more about mathematics; to readers who are open to unique protagonists and to those who believe that friendship and love can grow in the most unlikely places. I also recommend this novel to my daughter who teaches math.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Cecily Lovely review, and I like your final paragraph.

Did your daughter ever read it though, and if so, what did she think?

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