The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yōko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder This book is truly original, not your normal run of the mill. I highly recommend it. What is it about? It is about friendship and the beauty of numbers and baseball. And more..... Where should I start? I will start with the numbers. This is sort of the easiest to expalin. This book made me see and feel the beauty of math, of the laws that govern numbers. The world is so complicated. We understand nothing. Everything is always changing, but then you learn of a mathematical formula that is constant, that is always true, and suddenly there is an order to the messy world around us. The author goes even one step beyond this. Three people, of which two are completely normal like you and me, the housekeeper and her son, come to understand the magic of numbers through their contact with the Professor (of math). I wish I had had had a math teacher like te Professor! Did you know that zero is a concept thought up by an Indian mathematician. Before him the Greeks thought this concept didn't need a symbol. You get history, and then the author pulls the mathematical concept into the story so you understand the true consequence of the concept. What it means to you and me. Infinity, a line, zero, amicable numbers. Honestly, math is made beautiful. Occasionaly, I was too tired to follow the full development of a formula, but usually the author never pushed the theoretical underpinings too far. It is definitely worth reading the book just so that you will learn about math, but there is more!

There is baseball. And there is true friendship. And there is a look at how people come to love each other simply by doing things together. Caring for each other. All the blurbs about this book tell you that the housekeeper is taking care of an elderly man who can only remember what has happened during the last 80 minutes. He can also remember everything before 1975, before a car accident. What does this lack if remembrance really mean? It means that every day when she and her son come to his door he doesn't know who they are. It means that when you spend a wonderful afternoon together, it is gone tomorrow. So are the frightful disagreements that can destroy a day. Gone - they never happened! What does this say to the reader? What's the lesson to be learned? You get a beautiful picture of a frail old man, who has three suits - one for winter, one for summer and one for the spring and fall. That is what he wears. He has little pieces of paper pinned all over his suit to remind himeslf of things he must remember. Soon he is not a man dressed in a suit, but a man dressed in fragments of paper. The image is beautiful and clear and wonderful. Why? Bcause you fall in love with the guy! What develops for realationship between these three people is extraordinary. Do you see why I say this book is original? It is NOT melodramatic, it is quiet and beautiful. Heartwarming - definitely. Read it. It's only 180 pages. Take time to read chapter 10, of the eleven chapters in the book, slowly. Savour it. It is so beautiful.

12 pages in and I already love the characters, the housekeeper and the professor! Why is that? Perhaps b/c they are each true to their own selves. They are not what society wants them to be but merely who they were born to be. I cannot help but compare this with the poor souls of [b:Remarkable Creatures|6457081|Remarkable Creatures|Tracy Chevalier||6647405]. Although both Elizabeth and Mary also followed their inclinations, they spent all their time judging themselves by the moral standards of their times. The housekeeper and the professor are too busy being themselves.