Housekeeper and the Professor, The

Ogawa, Yoko

  12 Reviews

With only eighty minutes of short-term memory, an elderly Japanese mathematics professor greets each new day with no recollection of the previous one, including his housekeeper and her young son. On the clean slate of each new morning they develop a tender and complicated relationship revolving around the professor's joy and passion for mathematics and baseball.

A charming story of deceptive simplicity, guaranteed to convert the mathematically challenged to the beauty and mystery of numbers.

Comments from Groups

Just as the cover says `Highly original. Infinitely charming and ever so touching` Nelson 051

We all loved this book, the cadence of the writing, the love stories-of maths, of friendship of children. We did degenerate into confessions about being no good at maths however! Dunedin 061

We had a really great discussion about this book. All enjoyed its gentle pace. Most of us really enjoyed the mathematical elements which got us thinking. Christchurch 124

Those in our group who `hated` maths struggled with this book, but the rest of us absolutely loved it. Beautifully translated-a real joy to read. Piopio 001

Quite diverse reactions. Most of the group loved it-an enjoyable read. Gentle, yet punchy, intelligent, with a twist in the plot-implied earlier liaisons. Others in our group found the mathematical aspect a hindrance and didn't complete the book. Auckland 234

We found the book charming, simple-and irrelevant that most of us knew nothing about mathematics or baseball! Dunedin 058



AUCK 183
Most people found this book enjoyable. It was a simple story with a growing relationship, built on love and kindness.
TAUR 015
Gentle and illuminating about relationships; what matters; and maths!
WELL 082
CHCH 268
A delightful relationship that's nurtured by both parties. A gentle read that left the reader feeling a positive sentimental attachment to the characters.
CHCH 240
The majority of members enjoyed this book, finding it refreshing and interesting and easy to read. The writing style is intelligent. A simple story, the emphasis on mathematics gave it added complexity without taking away the relationship between characters. Clearly a different culture, but surprisingly well woven into our western way of thinking and living.
AUCK 071
All our group found this quite a delightful book. Some of us 'skipped' over the baseball game references, and the Professor's obsession with maths was quite 'testing' at times. On the whole enjoyed by all.
Loved by all of our group.
AUCK 285
A gentle book where not much happens but a lot evolves between 3 lonely characters as they form an unlikely friendship built on an appreciation of mathematics in our lives. Though short there was a lot said in a succinct manner. It seemed a 'Japanese' book - neat, orderly and pared back....
An unusual perspective on Japanese society, as observed through the eyes of a caring, young single mother, introduced to the world of mathematics through her association with an eccentric professor. Positive feedback from readers.
TAKA 001
Most of us thought it was well written, charming and believable. A few skimmed over the math but considered it wasn't essential to the enjoyment of the book to delve into the math formulae. Others enjoyed that part and said it added another dimension to the story and helped portray the Professor as an intelligent human being despite his brain injury. Yoko Ogawa cleverly portrayed her characters in a sympathetic and believable way, using her words economically and to good effect.
A gentle but poignant story that everyone in the group enjoyed. We all had differing experiences with numbers yet found ourselves involved with them in an entirely new way, some even putting pen to paper, working out problems with Root! The snapshot of Japanese life, including the degree of interest in baseball, added to the background. Ogawa's skill in creating empathy with her characters must be applauded.
AUCK 015
Everyone enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other groups. It was a quiet gentle read. Ogawa has written sympathetically and sensitively, perhaps meaning the story as a fable - we put people in boxes yet everyone is intelligent in some way. The book has been expertly translated.