Sunday, 19 April 2009

Gem of a Novel

Finished April 19
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
This lovely little novel tells the story of a young woman who works for a housekeeping agency and gets assigned to the home of a mathematics professor. The professor was injured in a car accident and his short term memory only lasts eighty minutes. Every morning the housekeeper must introduce herself again to him. He attaches notes to his clothing with binder clips, with the notes reminding him of things that are important, from medication to his memory loss, to the identity of his housekeeper. When he discovers that she has a young son, he insists that her son come to his house after work rather than go home to an empty apartment. The relationship that develops between the three is a fascinating one. His life is driven by mathematics and he spends his days working on problems for contests and sending them in to win prizes. His first question to the housekeeper is about her shoe size, and he uses numbers to tell stories about life. The housekeeper and her son, whom the professor nicknames Root, get drawn into the world of math and into his life.
While I admit that I have always had a love for math, I also found the relationship aspect of this book wonderfully written.

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