Monday, February 06, 2012

The Housekeeper + The Professor

I had a dream about being at school, standing at the blackboard, last night. I was trying to resolve a puzzling equation. Now, we didn't do equations when I was at primary school, but my dream was definitely set in my old primary school, Heuvy, not the Lycée. That's the thing about dreams, they don't have to be logical. Normally, my anxiety dreams are set around reading Latin, or Russian, or struggling with taking notes in College. I was good at maths, so never really had any major anxiety about it. But then again, I was good at Latin, and Russian.

The key to this dream, I think, is that I had just finished reading The Housekeeper + The Professor, by Yoko Ogawa, the story of a housekeeper, her 10-year-old son and the mathematics professor she works for. The professor was in a car accident in 1975 and suffered head injuries. He remembers everything before that time, but his short-term memory resets every 80 minutes. His mathematical mind is intact, however, and he opens the world of numbers for the housekeeper and her son. In a strange way, they become closer than family.

Not a big fancy book, but a lovely story.

The only thing I found strange is what this Japanese housekeeper cooks for this Japanese professor - she bakes bread, she prepares shrimp cocktail, and cooks roast beef and mash!! I don't get it? Maybe the translator thought that the English reader would find the Japanese dishes too exotic. But, surely, an English Sunday dinner is an adaptation too far.

PS: I was talking about not reading as much as I used to - this blogger certainly does a lot of reading! I must have a look through her list when I run out of books to read - at my current rate, that's probably in a year's time at the earliest!

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