Book: The Housekeeper and the Professor / Yoko Ogawa

An aging professor of mathematics has suffered an accident that left him with only 80 minutes of short-term memory, and most housekeepers are not up to the challenge of caring for him. It’s a good setup that uses the professor’s memory limitation to explore the importance of history in relationships. It also gently plies the romance of mathematics, which fortunately I find I can translate to a version that still holds sway with me. A few number problems are woven into the story with great skill from the housekeeper’s perspective, so that I imagine even mathophobes might enjoy them. The professor is mostly interested in whole numbers, which serve as good metaphors for individual people.

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One thought on “Book: The Housekeeper and the Professor / Yoko Ogawa

  1. I loved this book! It gave me an understanding for why people love numbers. I still don’t love numbers, but I get it! I recommend this tender book for anybody.

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