The Housekeeper and the Professor
Their Dearest Days Like Spring in Peace
Now, let me mention about a story which a single mother of 28 years old was dispatched as a housekeeper, to an ex math professor who suffered heavy brain damage by a traffic accident in 1975 and since then can have just 80 minutes' worth of memories. As you know, that is “The Housekeeper and the Professor” written by Ogawa Yoko, which was the first recipient of the Honya Taisho award (Japan Booksellers Award).
“Professor,” he is in 60s and can retain his new memories for only 80 minutes. Then, the old gentleman always puts many notes all over his suits in order to keep important information. But you will hardly feel sense of despair around him. The professor met the housekeeper and her son, then, they spent loving days of warmth like spring in peace.
Just four are its main characters, and so it seldom shows a morass of human relations. But the professor is neither hard-boiled nor unreasonable although he loves math more than anything. Ogawa’s skilled writings clearly tell us a body temperature of the professor. The days within the novel are exactly there as springtime of peacefulness.
Even if you were poor at math and number theory, there are no problems, because the tale goes on through the main character, the single mother, who doesn’t understand mathematics at all.
When “The Housekeeper and the Professor” was reissued as a paperbacked book in Japan, it took just two months to sell over 1,000,000 copies. No one can deny it is a best-selling book. And the record shows you can enjoy the story when you are unfamiliar with the math words like Abundant Number, Mersenne Prime and so on.
In passing, they say the author Ogawa Yoko also loves Hanshin Tigers as much as the fictional professor. Yoko said she moved to Hyogo, home of Tigers, for her husband’s job relocation. True reason is, I guess…
about The Housekeeper and the Professor
・Written by Ogawa Yoko
・Published by Shincho-sha (2003)
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