One of BookBrowse's Top 4 Favorite Books of 2009.
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 him.
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 Professors 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 Housekeepers shoe size--and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
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.
The Housekeeper and the Professor
Of all the countless things my son and I learned from the Professor, the meaning of the square root was among the most important. No doubt he would have been bothered by my use of the word countless - too sloppy, for he believed that the very origins of the universe could be explained in the exact language of numbers - but I dont know how else to put it. He taught us about enormous prime numbers with more than a hundred thousand places, and the largest number of all, which was used in mathematical proofs and was in the Guinness Book of Records, and about the idea of something beyond infinity. As interesting as all this was, it could never match the experience of simply spending time with the Professor. I remember when he taught us about the spell cast by placing numbers under this square root sign. It was a rainy evening in early April. My sons schoolbag lay abandoned on the rug. The light in the Professors study was...
Ogawa's fine prose and enchanting characters easily wind their way into your heart as their simple story unfolds to give voice to complex ideas about
math, love, family and memory. The Housekeeper and the Professor will make you
smile, and leave you pondering its meaning long after you have finished it.
(Reviewed by Diane La Rue).
Full Review (485 words).
The Story Behind the Book
Hakase no aishi ta sushiki was originally published in Japan in 2003, selling more than 2.5 million copies and garnering the prestigious Yomiuri Prize. The title is more literally translated as The Professor and His Beloved Equation, and is often referred to as such prior to the American publication of The Housekeeper and the Professor. Yoko Ogawa has published more than 20 works of fiction and nonfiction, many ...
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