Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa


This was a random book I picked up at Kinokuniya because I'm recently into Japanese authors. I bought it because when I flipped open the book there were some maths equations and being the math geek that I am, I was hooked!

In any case, it did not disappoint. The novel is about a housekeeper who got sent by her agency to clean a new client's place. The widow who interviewed told her to clean the house of her brother-in-law and make meals for him twice a day. The housekeeper was warned that he had been in a car accident and only had an 80-minute memory.

We journey with the housekeeper and her quirky interactions with the professor, who used to be one before the accident. He has a fascination with numbers and upon their first meeting, asked her about her shoe size and remarked that it was a factorial of 4. That begins the foray with the strange and wonderful world that is the professor's.

Soon, the housekeeper's son is brought into the picture when the professor insisted that he come over as he could not bear the thought of a latchkey kid (the housekeeper single-handedly brought up her son).

The 10-year-old boy and the professor struck up a strong friendship and eventually went to a baseball game together with the housekeeper, being the baseball fans that both the boy and professor were.

This is a beautiful and touching story and I would encourage all to get a copy. It's a simple and easy read and the Mathematical concepts are expertly weaved into the story and is easily understood when explained in layman terms through the eyes of the housekeeper.

Enjoy!

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