Tuesday, February 14, 2017

JLC 10 - book review - the housekeeper and the professor

Japanese literature challenge 10

I read The Housekeeper and the Professor for this years Japanese Literature Challenge.  

It was a while ago when I read it, so I just refreshed my memory by reading this review by Lonesomereader. This was such a good review I thought I'd share it here. I totally agree, this was a simple but elegant story, that captivated me and some what excited me. 

I was worried that I wouldn't have the concentration to focus on some of my choices for this years JLC (as I'm on some pain medications at the moment). But not to worry, this was lovely, and just right. 

The story is about a mathamatician who has suffered a brain injury and can not remember todays events. He still has all his mathamatical skills. His sister in law hires him a housekeeper to help keep him independent at home. After a string of housekeepers, this one stays. 

Im not into maths or science at all, but this engaged me into his love of numbers, just as the housekeeper was entranced. She introduced her son to the professor, and the three of them somehow seemed to bring out the best in each other. The young boy understood the professors needs in a way that surprises the reader but touches the soul. The professor, who by all accounts, was unable to buikd relationships due to his memory, became strongly connected to the boy in a truly endearing way. 

From a Japanese cultural perspective, this story upholds the values of respect and dignity for the individual and family name, the importance of being, and the significance of community - which stand out to me in many classic Japanese novels. Needless to say, I loved this book... would read it again. 


Meredith said...

This is such a lovely book, one I absolutely cherished for its gentle insight into the family. I was rather jarred by her other books; Hotel Iris read like Lolita, so sad, and the collection of stories in Revenge are disturbing at best. This remains my favorite of her books, although I have not read The Diving Pool. Thanks for reading and reviewing it for part of the JLC10, you picked a great title!

Edith LaGraziana said...

Oh, thanks for reminding me of this marvellous book! I reviewed The Housekeeper and the Professor three years ago, i.e. months before I stumbled across Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge by accident. I just loved the book and am glad to see that I'm not the only one!

LaGraziana @ Edith's Miscellany

Jeanie said...

I can never seem to connect to Japanese literature even though it is a country I like and have even visited. But this sounds really lovely, so thank you for introducing me to it.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

One of my favorite books. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much. The writing is just lovely and the story just touches my heart. I love Ogawa's work - its always such a special treat to read.