Review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

I never really got on with maths at school. Or sport. So a book that seems to deal with both baseball and mathematics ought to fly to the bottom of my ‘to read’ pile. However, this slim little Japanese novel slipped into my hands and into my heart as soon as I saw it. The premise is very simple – a young housekeeper is assigned to a job working for an elderly, brain damaged professor of mathematics. He has only eighty minutes of short-term memory, so he doesn’t remember her from one day to the next, but his memory pre-1975 remains intact and somehow he continues to function, living through his obsession with numbers. Each morning he greets her at the door asking for her birth date and her telephone number. He finds puzzles and equations in everything, including shoe sizes and baseball, and the housekeeper becomes fascinated as she and her son also begin to see the beauty and the poetry in numbers.

Read the rest of my review on The Bookbag


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