The Housekeeper and the Professor
Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder
He is a brilliant maths professor with a peculiar problem – ever since a traumatic head injury seventeen years ago, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
She is a sensitive but astute young housekeeper who is entrusted to take care of him.
Each morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are reintroduced to one another, a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms between them. The Professor may not remember what he had for breakfast, but his mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. He devises clever maths riddles – based on her shoe size or her birthday – and the numbers reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her ten-year-old son. With each new equation, the three lost souls forge an affection more mysterious than imaginary numbers, and a bond that runs deeper than memory.
Alive with mysteries both mathematical and personal, this novel has the pared-down elegance of an equation * Oprah magazine * Its unnamed characters suggest archetype or myth; its rapturous concentration on the details of weather and cooking provide a satisfyingly textured foundation * Guardian * Beautiful...the extraordinary Yoko Ogawa casts her spell. Never before has the beauty of maths been so lovingly explored...a tender, gentle book...Ogawa is an original and establishes a world in a paragraph..This is a tale which will leave the reader gasping...Hopefully more of her exciting, thoughtful fiction is heading our way. * Irish Times * A perfectly sustained novel (a tribute to Stephen Snyder's smooth translation); like a note prolonged...a pause enabling us to peer intently into the lives of its characters...has all the charm and restraint of any by Ishiguro and the whimsy of Murakami * Los Angeles Times * Highly original. Infinitely charming. And ever so touching. * Paul Auster *
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