Japanese Lit Group and it's a wonderful book.
A story of everyday life featuring not so ordinary characters, this book is told from the point of view of the "housekeeper" -- a nameless woman whose difficult upbringing and young pregnancy has given her very little advantage in life. She receives a new assignment one day to work for the "Professor". He lives in a cottage adjacent to the home of his sister-in-law and has a unique brain injury from a car accident years before -- his short-term memory only lasts for eighty minutes. He wears a suit covered in small notes that remind him of the little things in life. He is a difficult assignment in some ways but easy in others, in that he spends most of his time working on mathematical problems that he finds in a magazine. The housekeeper is fascinated with him and with the way he introduces her to the world of numbers and mathematics. When he insists that her ten year old son also come to the house after school, a unique relationship is formed between the three people. And yet, the question remains if they have a true friendship or not due to his limitations.
I am finding it hard to choose the right words for this discussion. It is a touching story that is unique in its exploration of friendship, motherhood and a life that is anything but ordinary. I was surprised by how deep this book went in such a short time. I really felt like I knew these people and understood their trials and lives. This is also a new view of modern Japanese life for me -- complete with small details like meals and weather. I enjoyed these aspects of the book just as much as the characters. Finally, as I try to remember to do in any stellar translated work that I read, I also want to give credit to Stephen Snyder, the translator for this novel. This book is very accessible to all readers.
Living a life segment of my own,
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