Sovotchka's Reviews > The Housekeeper + The Professor

The Housekeeper + The Professor by Yōko Ogawa
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's review
Apr 05, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewstatus-reviewed, country-japan, region-europe, status-dresden, 0, language-english
Recommended to Sovotchka by: Chrissie
Read from May 08 to 09, 2012

Yoko Ogawas novel "The Housekeeper + The Professor" tells the story of a woman coming to care for an elderly mathematics professor suffering from short-term memory loss.

While she has to introduce herself again every morning, she soons forms an attachment, based on him teaching her about numbers and her seeing his brilliance.
When she mentions her son, the Professor's love for children shines through and he expects her to bring him around after school or during vacations.

The love the professor has for numbers shines through on every page, and from a mathematician's point of view it is beautiful to see. The developing interest of the housekeeper and her own storytelling and thinking about everything should help people out who have had no previous experience with number theory, and in any way it is not so much about the numbers themselves as it is about the sense of wonder they leave, and the new world they open up. Also, for people who don't love numbers but like sports, there is a lot of baseball in here, due to the professor and the son sharing a passion, and I learned more about it than I ever thought I would. I might even watch a game now :).

The development of the relationship is beautifully written, and in most cases, realistic and easy to follow. The descriptions of the professors struggle with his condition are heartbreaking, and I can see how difficult it must be for someone who relies on his brain when it fails.

In an odd way, like so many numbers this novel is beautiful, but not outstanding. This sums up to 4.5 stars overall, but give it a chance if you have the time, it's not that long after all :).
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