Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Genre: contemporary fiction, Japanese
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from library
Published: 2003 
Pages: 180
Content: PG for adult themes.
Reading Challenge: A to Z (by author O)

A housekeeper goes to work for an elderly man whose memory resets to 1975 after 80 minutes. The professor has a gazillion notes on his suit to help him remember or at least know about things that have happened, such as the most important note he sees every morning: Memory lasts only 80 minutes.

He's a professor of mathematics and as such he only relates to the world through numbers. The housekeeper tries to relate to the professor by learning about his world of numbers and Ogawa lets us begin our own math journey along with the housekeeper, complete with equations and real world connections.

How does the housekeeper and her son form a relationship with the professor when he can never remember them the next day? Ogawa explores what it really means to love others and how we hold onto those relationships even when it seems impossible to do so.

There are so many layers to this novel and many will find their own treasures here.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I thought this was a 5 star book. Very unusual and moving.

  2. I've bee wanting to read this one for a while, I keep hearing such good things about it. Glad you hear you enjoyed it as well!

  3. This sounds really different, and it has such a beautiful cover. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  4. Loved this one. Your thoughts about the love and the relationship are spot on. Glad you liked it.

  5. What a beautiful story. I'll have to add this to my reading list.

  6. Wasn't this a wonderful surprise. I wish my math teachers could have made math so interesting!

  7. I loved this precious book. It was so emotional, so touching and this coming from someone who couldn't do Math to save her life!


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