I’d read this a while ago, but I couldn’t coordinate my words to speak about it. Happens like that sometimes. It was something that was so simple yet made me have deep feelings that I couldn’t articulate. Well, now I might have a few. So let’s unpack a sweet novella about memory, numbers, and kindness.
The Housekeeper and the Professor is a beautiful little slice of life about a Housekeeper (duh) and the old math Professor whom she has been charged to take care of. The kicker: the Professor can only retain eighty minutes of short-term memories. This book has no names because there’s generally no need for them. They are not important in any way, especially with the professor having such a short memory.
I have to admit, taking the names out of the equation actually made the book more personable. The housekeeper is a complex character trying to keep her world — consisting of her job and son — simple as possible so that she can be a good mom. Yet when she meets the professor and receives a glimpse into his world and the man he used to be, she can’t help but be drawn in and enamored by the sweet, but listless old man. She feels an overwhelming need to give to him and understand him even though he forgets who she is every hour or so. Her son and she show a level of humanity and kindness that feels almost fictional and it actually pains me to say that considering that it’s just them treating the man with decent. Treating him like a human being.
The way this book describes the interactions and the relationship between the Housekeeper, her son, and the Professor is so heartwarming and a study of how being truly kind for the sake of it is something that should be valued more than it is. Even when the Housekeeper makes mistakes, she doesn’t give up on showing the Professor goodness which also sets such a wonderful example for her son.
As you can see, I’m still struggling to find words. Right up until the very end where you understand the tragedy of the Professor and his deteriorating condition, it touched me with a lighthearted and sweet feeling. In the end, it was a beautiful read and gave me a very hopeful outlook. Most of all it was a reminder to be good to people and respect them as human beings even if they have struggles that they are going through. Hell even if you have struggles you are going through.
I really loved this book and recommend it as an afternoon read if you’re trying to get into Translated Works. The Housekeeper and the Professor is available on Amazon and BN as well as in your local chain store if you have one. If you pick it up, feel free to come back and let me know something. You might be able to put into words what I just truly could not!
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One thought on “The Equation of Kindness – The HouseKeeper and the Professor”
Enjoyed the review.