First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
He is a brilliant Math professor with a peculiar problem – ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him.
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities – like the Housekeeper’s shoe size – and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
And just like that, I am already on my fifth book for my May Japanese Literature Month. I didn’t expect that I pick up speed. But anyway, after completing Nobel Laureate in Literature Kenzaburo Oe’s The Silent Cry, I am currently reading Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor. This is my first time reading any of Ogawa’s works.
The Housekeeper and the Professor is one of my more recent purchases. Normally, it would sit for months (and even years) in my bookshelf before I would touch it and read it. But the world is shifting and we are having a new normal so I am reading it now. Actually, though, I am reading it right now because I am in the midst of reading Japanese works and because this book was recommended by a fellow bookworm whose literary taste I trust.
It is a quick-paced read. In an hour, I managed to read a third of the book and had I not had to work today, I might have already finished it. It relates the story of well, obviously, the Professor and his Housekeeper. Both have been kept anonymous, so far, but I think it will be maintained that way because even the Housekeeper’s son wasn’t given an actual name. He was given the nickname “Root” by the Professor.
There has been a lot of talk about Math, the professor being a prominent Math Professor before suffering a life-changing head trauma. Baseball was another recurring subject; the narrative was, after all, set in Japan, a nation passionate about baseball. In short, what I am trying to say is that the story has different elements which are interesting. Ogawa working through quotidian day-to-day activities made the narrative easier to appreciate and understand.
The writing was simple and easy to digest. The story is a pleasant slice-of-life that Japanese authors are widely known for. I am inclined to believe that the story would develop into a romance story. It is something I am not hoping for but is not really something that is far-fetched. Or their story could develop into a warm father-daughter relationship. There are also several questions that are in want of answers.
This is a very quick read and I wouldn’t be surprised if I finish it tomorrow morning. It is not just the pace but the plot is devoid of any complications that it is quite easy to follow. Plus, the story develops in less than 200 pages.
How about you fellow reader? What book are you reading this weekend? I hope you enjoy it while staying in the confines of your home. Always keep safe! Happy weekend!