About the BookHe 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.
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.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.
"Highly original. Infinitely charming. And ever so touching." --Paul Auster"Gorgeous, cinematic . . . The Housekeeper and the Professor is a perfectly sustained novel . . . like a note prolonged, a fermata, a pause enabling us to peer intently into the lives of its characters. . . . This novel has all the charm and restraint of any by Ishiguro or Kenzaburo Oe and the whimsy of Murakami. The three lives connect like the vertices of a triangle." --Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times "Deceptively elegant . . . This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water. But even in the clearest waters can lurk currents you don't see until you are in them. Dive into Yoko Ogawa's world . . . and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen." --Dennis Overbye, The New York Times Book Review "Alive with mysteries both mathematical and personal, The Housekeeper and the Professor has the pared-down elegance of an equation." --O, The Oprah Magazine "This sweetly melancholy novel adheres to the Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in what is off-center, imperfect. . . . In treating one another with such warm concern and respect, the characters implicitly tell us something about the unforgiving society on the other side of the professor's cottage door. The Housekeeper and the Professor is a wisp of a book, but an affecting one." --Amanda Heller, The Boston Globe "The Housekeeper and the Professor is strangely charming, flecked with enough wit and mystery to keep us engaged throughout. This is Ogawa's first novel to be translated into English, and Stephen Snyder has done an exceptionally elegant job." --Ron Charles, The Washington Post "Lovely . . . Ogawa's plot twists, her narrative pacing, her use of numbers to give meaning and mystery to life are as elegant in their way as the math principles the professor cites. . . . Ogawa's short novel is itself an equation concerning the intricate and intimate way we connect with others--and the lace of memory they sometimes leave us." --Anthony Bukoski, Minneapolis Star Tribune "Exquisite... An extraordinary situation that allows the author to mine the ordinary. It's a wedge driven deep into life, and we look with astonishment at what it is able to expose." --Stefan Kiesby, Los Angeles Review of Books "[A] mysterious, suspenseful, and radiant fable . . . 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." --Donna Seaman, Booklist "Ogawa's charming fable presents a stark contrast to the creepy novellas collected last year in The Diving Pool, but her strength as an engaging writer remains." --Vikas Turahkia, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) "Ogawa weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel. . . . In this gorgeous tale, Ogawa lifts the window shade to allow readers to observe the characters for a short while, then closes the shade. [Translator Stephen] Snyder . . . brings a delicate and precise hand to the translation." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Ogawa's disarming exploration of an eccentric relationship reads like a fable, one that deftly balances whimsy with heartache." --Kirkus Reviews
About the AuthorYoko Ogawa's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Since 1988 she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, and has won every major Japanese literary award. Her books include The Housekeeper and the Professor, Revenge, and The Diving Pool.