The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

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Synopsis

He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem--ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
She is an astute young Housekeeper--with a ten-year-old son--who is hired to care for the Professor.
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities--like the Housekeeper's shoe size--and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away. Yoko Ogawa's The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.

 

About Yoko Ogawa

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Yoko Ogawa's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Since 1988 she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, and has won every major Japanese literary award.
 
Published February 3, 2009 by Picador. 191 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Housekeeper and the Professor

Kirkus Reviews

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Initially he’s not much of a talker, but the sweet, almost childlike housekeeper takes a liking to the vulnerable old man, even as she has to reintroduce herself to him every day.

Dec 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Publishers Weekly

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Ogawa (The Diving Pool ) weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel. Narrated by the Housekeeper, the characters are known only

Nov 17 2008 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

The New York Times

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This novel’s unlikely hero is a Japanese mathematician whose memory lasts for only 80 minutes.

Mar 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Examiner

While I have read many wonderful books about the humanity of relationships, I have yet to read a better story about the elegance of mathematics.

Jul 20 2009 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

The Bookbag

They find ways to reach out to each other through numbers, puzzles and riddles, and Root and the Professor discover a shared love of the same baseball team, although the Professor remembers them as they were in 1975, the time of his accident, and so Root does his best to shield the Professor from...

Mar 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

PopMatters

The unnamed narrator is sent to work at the cottage of the Professor, who has worn out nine previous housekeepers.

Apr 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Bookmarks Magazine

Susan Salter Reynolds Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars "Ogawa’s plot twists, her narrative pacing, her use of numbers to give meaning and mystery to life are as elegant in their way as the math principles the professor cites.

Feb 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Oprah.com

The Professor is a fallen genius with a truncated memory—the result of a crippling accident—and a transcendent passion for numbers.

| Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Shelf Awareness

The Orange County Register reported that on Saturday, "Martinez Books & Art Gallery, as it's known in English, will shut its current location and officially reopen the next day next door, at what is now a children's bookstore that's also run by owner Rueben Martinez, a 2004 recipient of a MacArth...

Jan 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Housekeeper and the Profe...

Reader Rating for The Housekeeper and the Professor
83%

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