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The Housekeeper and the Professor

by

The Housekeeper and the Professor Cover

ISBN13: 9780312427801
ISBN10: 0312427808
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

He is a brilliant math professor, with a peculiar problem — 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 him. And between them a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms. Though the professor can hold new memories for only eighty minuets, his mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past; and through him, the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the housekeeper and her son. 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 where one before did not exist.

Review:

"Ogawa (The Diving Pool) weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel. Narrated by the Housekeeper, the characters are known only as the Professor and Root, the Housekeeper's 10-year-old son, nicknamed by the Professor because the shape of his hair and head remind the Professor of the square root symbol. A brilliant mathematician, the Professor was seriously injured in a car accident and his short-term memory only lasts for 80 minutes. He can remember his theorems and favorite baseball players, but the Housekeeper must reintroduce herself every morning, sometimes several times a day. The Professor, who adores Root, is able to connect with the child through baseball, and the Housekeeper learns how to work with him through the memory lapses until they can come together on common ground, at least for 80 minutes. In this gorgeous tale, Ogawa lifts the window shade to allow readers to observe the characters for a short while, then closes the shade. Snyder — who also translated Pool — brings a delicate and precise hand to the translation." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Highly original. Infinitely charming. And ever so touching." Paul Auster

Review:

"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)

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

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

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"Ogawa's disarming exploration of an eccentric relationship reads like a fable, one that deftly balances whimsy with heartache." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[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

Review:

"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)

Synopsis:

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 him. 

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

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.

About the Author

Yoko 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Ellen Pullen, March 1, 2014 (view all comments by Ellen Pullen)
I loved this book primarily for the gentle tone and the kind and courteous way the Housekeeper and her son treated the Professor, who had a severe memory loss resulting from an accident years earlier. He could not remember anything more than 80 minutes, so kept notes pinned to his clothing, reminding him what day it was, at what point he had paused in working his mathematical problems. Every morning the Housekeeper told him her name and why she came to help because he couldn't recall anything about her. However, when he learned her son had to stay home alone after school he insisted the boy (whom he called "Root" because his flat haircut reminded the Prof of the square root symbol) come to his cottage afternoons. The two became friends, based on mutual love of baseball and mathematics.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Ellen Pullen, March 1, 2014 (view all comments by Ellen Pullen)
I loved this book primarily for the gentle tone and the kind and courteous way the Housekeeper and her son treated the Professor, who had a severe memory loss resulting from an accident years earlier. He could not remember anything more than 80 minutes, so kept notes pinned to his clothing, reminding him what day it was, at what point he had paused in working his mathematical problems. Every morning the Housekeeper told him her name and why she came to help because he couldn't recall anything about her. However, when he learned her son had to stay home alone after school he insisted the boy (whom he called "Root" because his flat haircut reminded the Prof of the square root symbol) come to his cottage afternoons. The two became friends, based on mutual love of baseball and mathematics.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Ellen Pullen, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Ellen Pullen)
I enjoyed this book because it was so unusual -- it covers memory loss, mathematics, baseball, genuine love between characters, though not sexual. A gentle story about extraordinary people.

It is truly difficult to choose one favorite book from so many good ones!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427801
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Ogawa, Yoko
Translator:
Snyder, Stephen
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Gifted persons
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Rough Front/Deckel Edge
Publication Date:
20090203
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.75 x 0.57 in

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The Housekeeper and the Professor Used Trade Paper
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Product details 192 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427801 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ogawa (The Diving Pool) weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel. Narrated by the Housekeeper, the characters are known only as the Professor and Root, the Housekeeper's 10-year-old son, nicknamed by the Professor because the shape of his hair and head remind the Professor of the square root symbol. A brilliant mathematician, the Professor was seriously injured in a car accident and his short-term memory only lasts for 80 minutes. He can remember his theorems and favorite baseball players, but the Housekeeper must reintroduce herself every morning, sometimes several times a day. The Professor, who adores Root, is able to connect with the child through baseball, and the Housekeeper learns how to work with him through the memory lapses until they can come together on common ground, at least for 80 minutes. In this gorgeous tale, Ogawa lifts the window shade to allow readers to observe the characters for a short while, then closes the shade. Snyder — who also translated Pool — brings a delicate and precise hand to the translation." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Highly original. Infinitely charming. And ever so touching."
"Review" by , "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." (starred review)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Alive with mysteries both mathematical and personal, The Housekeeper and the Professor has the pared-down elegance of an equation."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Ogawa's disarming exploration of an eccentric relationship reads like a fable, one that deftly balances whimsy with heartache."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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 him. 

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

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.

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