I was chatting with one of the library staff last week, lamenting (as usual) about the lack of good science fiction on their shelves that I haven’t read. I’d like a different kind of book, I mused out loud.
My friend suggested Yoko Ogawa’s charming and brief novel. It has numbers. It has baseball. It has a person with a memory impairment. As a result of a brain injury, the professor of the title has about eighty minutes of memory before the past fades into nothing.
His mysterious sister-in-law hires a single mother from an agency to prepare meals, keep house, and otherwise care for a man who seems to have lost all but the last hour and twenty minutes.
I vaguely recall one or two movies and two or three books from the past decade in which people have damaged abilities to remember. Ms Ogawa’s book isn’t really derivative of these other works, most of which explore the impact on romance. In this one, a gifted teacher breaks through the brain’s reset. Unlikely relationships are formed between the professor, his housekeeper, and her ten-year-old son.
180 pages: I read through it in two nights. If a reader has any affinity for numbers, it will be even more enjoyable. But a math mind is not required to find this novel delightful. Highly recommended.