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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076667
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

The Housekeeper and the Professor

Vintage Classics Japanese Series

An enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family where one before did not exist.

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.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076667
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

About the author

Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa has won every major Japanese literary award. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, A Public Space and Zoetrope. Her works include The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, The Housekeeper and the Professor,Hotel Iris and Revenge.

Also by Yoko Ogawa

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Praise for The Housekeeper and the Professor

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


Alive with mysteries both mathematical and personal, this novel has the pared-down elegance of an equation

Oprah magazine

Ogawa's crystalline prose heightens the simple elegance of this tale of lost souls looking for comfort and shelter - and finding it in the timeless symmetry of mathematical equations.


Strangely charming, flecked with enough wit and mystery to keep us engaged throughout... fairy-tale surrealism and quiet spiritual wisdom

Washington Post

This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water...Dive into Yoko Ogawa's world and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen

New York Times

Ogawa weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel...gorgeous

Publishers Weekly

It's short, quiet and perfectly formed, an elegant story.

Alastair Mabbott, Glasgow Herald

It is a miracle of a book

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

Yet again, the extraordinary Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa casts her spell in this gentle tale of mesmerising pathos

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

..this was a novel that I cannot shake from my mind

Alyson Rudd, The Times

This is a marvellous book...I felt a real sense of loss on reaching the end.

The Times Book Club

Where Yoko Ogawa's brilliance lies is in taking such an apparently stiff framework and bending it into a work of warmth and beauty; or showing us that mathematics is not a cold, hard, science, but an elegant, complex, shimmering art. This feat of literary spoon-bending is accomplished with such calm elegance that it quite takes the breath away

Sarah Vine, The Times Book Club

A charming, slight and well-told story.

Tom Chesshyre, The Times Book Club

Ogawa left this reader moved and with his faith in the potential goodness of humans reaffirmed

Damien Whitworth, The Times

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