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The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Yoko Ogawa Stephen Snyder

RRP €11.35

The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Author Name Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder

Book details for title
List Price:11.35
Format: Paperback, 198 x 129 x 13mm, 192pp
Publication date: 01 Apr 2010
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN-13: 9780099521341

Dubray Review

Seventeen years ago the Professor was involved in a car accident that left him with an eighty- minute memory.  A retired professor of maths with a passion for prime numbers, he finds connections between people through numerical patterns. Each day his housekeeper re-introduces herself by pointing to one of the many notes he has stuck to his jacket and a small sketch to recognise her by. She answers the same questions about her shoe size, telephone number and birthday.  Although their friendship must be renewed each day, their relationship grows to include the housekeeper’s son – nicknamed 'Root' because the top of his head reminds the Professor of a square root sign.  Showing how friendship can flourish without memories and how beauty can be found in maths, this is a story as delicate and endearing as the Professor himself.

- Karen McKay, Stillorgan


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.


"Highly original. Infinitely charming. And ever so touching." Paul Auster "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 "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 "Its unnamed characters suggest archetype or myth; its rapturous concentration on the details of weather and cooking provide a satisfyingly textured foundation" Guardian "Alive with mysteries both mathematical and personal, this novel has the pared-down elegance of an equation" Oprah magazine