A Good Book You May Have Missed, Part 2

Today’s recommendation is a more contemporary novel that I fell in love with a couple of years ago.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa is a short and sweet, slice of literature. The Professor is a brilliant mathematician, who, after an accident, has suffered damage to his brain. Consequently, he is only able to retain his short-term memory for 80 minutes. After that, things must be re-explained to him.

His new Housekeeper, a woman with a small son, shows us what life is like for him. They communicate best through math; he even nicknames her son, Root. Through seemingly irrelevant numbers and statistics (of course, the Professor loves baseball, the sport statistics’ gold mine), they form a bond that begins to pierce through his memory loss.

This book is ultimately about the characters, which is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned. The three main characters are lovingly and realistically portrayed, and even in such a short work, they are three-dimensional. The other character of the story is math, which surprisingly, isn’t dull and adds another depth to the story. I found myself – an admitted math-hater – actually enjoying the way the Professor, the Housekeeper, and Root all connect through numbers and equations.

A heartwarming, sweet story!

Or, check out another novel by Ogawa: Hotel Iris



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