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The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko…
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The Housekeeper and the Professor (edition 2009)

by Yoko Ogawa

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1,5951414,560 (3.97)304
Member:deb80
Title:The Housekeeper and the Professor
Authors:Yoko Ogawa
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library, Books Read 2012
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, japan

Work details

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

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» See also 304 mentions

English (131)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (141)
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa is a slim novel about an unusual friendship between a housekeeper, her son, and her employer — a retired mathematics professor who suffers from memory loss. Mixed in with the events of their unfolding friendship, are little mathematical lessons.

The Professor survives his day to day life through a long list of notes and annotations because he can only hold recent memories for about 80 minutes. To pass the time the professor works on proof contests hosted by math journals. The point isn't to win (even though there's a cash prize) — it's to keep his mind active. Math is in his blood.

The housekeeper who serves as the narrator of the story has a school aged son. He's a quiet boy and often preyed upon by bullies at school. So he comes to the Professor's house after school. The Professor becomes somewhat of a father, or maybe grandfather, figure for the boy whom he nicknames "Root."

Anyway, it's a quiet, thoughtful book. I'd recommend it to anyone with at least a passing interesting in the history of mathematics. The math problems while not crucial are fun to solve along with Root and his mother. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 30, 2014 |
What a great book!
The fact that it took me forever to read it not at all the book's fault, only mine. Too many other things to do, too much on my mind.
Still, this is one of the few books in English I read before going to bed.

It is not difficult, it is not loaded with things that happen. No real adventures, no romance. Just a story. Why on earth did this book take such a strong hold of me that I simply had to finish instead of give up and move on? I don't have the faintest idea. But it did, and I finished it and loved every letter in it.
Okay, the ~complicated~equasions I read and just like in grammar school they went in through one eye and immediately out through the other. Very reassuring that that's still tge same :-) ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jul 11, 2014 |
A beatiful novel that reveals the relationship between the universe and life in mathematical form. ( )
  BALE | May 30, 2014 |
Translated from Japanese. Beautiful, gentle, thought provoking.
A single mom meets a gentleman with short term memory issues thru her work as a housekeeper. He is a mathematician and relates to the world thru numbers. He has a fondness for children and her ten year old son soon comes to work with her after school. Mutual respect and responsibility help forge strong bonds despite the memory time loop restrictions. Adventures and misadventures and a lifelong friendship develop. ( )
  Lissa28 | May 29, 2014 |
I thought this book was an elegant gem of a read. The touching story of the relationship between a housekeeper, a professor whose short-term memory lasts only 80 minutes, and the housekeeper's son. The relationship is both unique, simple, and profound. The interweaving of mathematical theory and relationship was deceptively simple. I think Ogawa has created a theorem for both eternal connection and divine order. I smiled the entire time I was reading it. Just lovely! ( )
  hemlokgang | May 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
Den mycket uppskattade japanska författaren Yoko Ogawa introduceras på svenska med en riktig hjärteknipare. Annat brukar det sällan bli när gamla, sjuka gubbar sammanförs med barn.
added by Jannes | editDagens Nyheter, Jonas Thente (Jan 18, 2011)
 
The narrator in Ogawa's mysterious, suspenseful, and radiant fable, the youngest housekeeper at the agency, knows that her new client will be a challenge: nine housekeepers have already been fired. But when she meets the Professor in his small cottage, she is intrigued instead of wary. A brilliant mathematician, he lives a surreal life. The elderly Professor can't remember anything after 1975. He can absorb new information and new experiences for 80 minutes at a stretch, then it is erased, and he has to start over. Quiet and kind, his jacket festooned with scraps of paper on which he writes notes to remind himself of what he always forgets, he spends his puzzling days solving highly advanced math problems and winning national contests. At long last, he has the perfect companions. The smart and resourceful housekeeper, the single mother of a baseball-crazy 10-year-old boy the Professor adores, falls under the spell of the beautiful mathematical phenomena the Professor elucidates, as will the reader, and the three create an indivisible formula for love
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, Donna Seaman
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yoko Ogawaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
We called him the Professor.
Quotations
No matter how much time passed, I was always the young woman who made painfully slow progress with numbers, and my son would always be the boy who simply appeared, and was embraced.
I'm not sure why I became so absorbed in a child's math problem with no practical value. At first, I was conscious of wanting to please the Professor, but gradually that feeling faded and I realized it had become a battle between the problem and me. . . . At first, it was just a small distraction, but it quickly became an obsession. Only a few people know the mystery concealed in this formula, and the rest of us go to our graves without even suspecting there is a secret to be revealed.
But those things aren't the goal of mathematics. The only goal is to discover the truth. The Professor always said the word truth in the same tone as the word mathematics.
After all these years, I'm still at a loss for words to describe how purely the Professor loved children – except to say that it was as unchangeable and true as Euler's formula itself.
He treated Root exactly as he treated prime numbers. For him, primes were the base on which all other natural numbers relied; and children were the foundation of everything worthwhile in the adult world.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Information from the Japanese Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
There is actually a Japanese movie Hakase no Aishita Sushiki / The Professor and His Beloved Equation, that may be inspired by this novel.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427808, Paperback)

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 the Professor. 

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 Professor's 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 Housekeeper's shoe size—and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.

Yoko Ogawa's 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

He is a brilliant math professor, with a peculiar problem--since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only 80 minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young housekeeper with a 10-year-old son who is hired to care for the professor. Between them, a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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