Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Translated by Stephen Snyder
Did you know that numbers play a very significant role in our lives? Or that math has proven the existence of God? The mathematic professor knows without a doubt that math is full of poetic possibility. It is the housekeeper who must learn it and the professor becomes her greatest teacher. The problem is that the professor was in an accident and suffered a brain injury which has caused his short term memory to last only 80 minutes. His long term memory is intact but he remembers nothing after 1975.
There are three main characters in the book, two are in the title and the third is the housekeeper’s son, nicknamed Root by the professor after his beloved square roots. Root and the professor form a heartwarming friendship surrounding their love of baseball.
This is a beautiful gently flowing book that glides you along and arouses your interest in the power of relationships, family, primes, factors and all sorts of curious equations. It is a book that gets the reader to think outside of the box.
As a person whose brain tends to gravitate away from mathematics, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this endearing story. I learned that math is an enchanting process of problem-solving that everyone should grasp as essential to life. Don’t shy away from this book if you practice math avoidance, in fact I would encourage you to read it. It is not merely a book about math; it is about so much more.
I have found that in Japan there has been a movie version created from this book entitled The Professor and his Beloved Equation. I will look forward to viewing it.
Would I recommend this book? YES!
Posted by Laura BookSnob at 8:27 PM