Rating: 5 stars
When I read the blurb for The Housekeeper and the Professor, I ummed and ahhed about whether to read it. My mother has a form of dementia, and the feelings I have about the slow loss of her made me wonder whether reading a story about a man whose memory is frozen in time was such a good idea. The story did make me sad. It is wonderfully well written, though, and I’m glad I read it. The characters exist in a bubble of their own, its surface shape defined by the Professor’s 80 minute memory. When they are together in their bubble, everything is fine. When the outside world presses on its surface, threatening to break in, Ogawa gets the sense of tension across very well. On finishing it, I experienced a sense of loss such as I have rarely felt. In between life and work, it actually only took me a day to read. It’s a short book, but very full.
It’s also a book that I want other people to read. I’ve recommended it to a fair few of my friends. I feel oddly protective of it, as well. I feel sad when someone reads it and doesn’t enjoy it as much as I did.