Housekeeper and the Professor (Ogawa)

About the Author 
Birth—March 30, 1962
Where—Ikayama, Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Education—Waseda University
Awards—Kaien Prize; Akutagawa Prize; Yomiuri Prize;
  Isumi Prize; Tanizaki Prize
Currently—lives in Ashiya, Hyogo


Ogawa was born in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture, graduated from Waseda University, and lives in Ashiya, Hyōgo, with her husband and son. Since 1988, she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel The Professor's Beloved Equation (aka The Housekeeper and the Professor) has been made into a movie. In 2006 she co-authored An Introduction to the World's Most Elegant Mathematics with Masahiko Fujiwara, a mathematician, as a dialogue on the extraordinary beauty of numbers.

Kenzaburo Oe has said, "Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating." The subtlety in part lies in the fact that Ogawa's characters often seem not to know why they are doing what they are doing. She works by accumulation of detail, a technique that is perhaps more successful in her shorter works; the slow pace of development in the longer works requires something of a deus ex machina to end them. The reader is presented with an acute description of what the protagonists, mostly but not always female, observe and feel and their somewhat alienated self-observations, some of which is a reflection of Japanese society and especially women's roles within in it. The tone of her works varies, across the works and sometimes within the longer works, from the surreal, through the grotesque and the —sometimes grotesquely— humorous, to the psychologically ambiguous and even disturbing. (Hotel Iris, one of her longer works, is more explicit sexually than her other works and is also her most widely translated.) (From Wikipedia.)

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