The Housekeeper and the Professor part II

Okay book clubbers!  As I have finished the novel, admittedly ahead of schedule, I was floundering about in a conundrum about what to say about it.  I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you still enjoying the stroll through Japan with our dear and lovely Housekeeper as your tour guide so I have decided to post a vague question which is not, to the best of my knowledge in the back of the book.

While Ogawa elaborates upon the relationships between the characters, how does she fare describing Japan?  The town the characters live in?  Did you feel grounded in their every day environment?

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2 responses to “The Housekeeper and the Professor part II

  • Kelly

    I agree with the previous poster — nothing in this book would indicate to me that it takes place in Japan except for a few references to the Japanese baseball teams, Prime Ministers, and little bit of horticulture. Also, the characters don’t have names; they are simply The Professor and Root. We never learn the housekeeper’s name either (well, I’m about 70% done, but I’m assuming that’s the case). I don’t even think the town name is mentioned, just the region.

    I did feel grounded in their daily lifestyle; their environment just consists of things we all do everyday all over the world: going to work and school. It’s just that the story could’ve really taken place anywhere with a few minor changes. I admit I’m a bit disappointed that the author didn’t include more culture in her setting, but nonetheless I’m enjoying the book and almost finished!

    I’m curious, is the English version a translation or did the author right it in English? Does anyone know?

  • kimberlyloomis

    It’s translation, Kelly. And, I think, a very impressive one to boot! So few works actually maintain artistry when put into a language other than the one it was written in originally and this one held up. I suppose maintain was a poor choice of words there as I don’t know Japanese so am not really qualified to make such an assertion. 😉

    I too was disappointed in the lack of cultural traditions espoused in the novel but, I suppose, if you’re Japanese and writing it for a Japanese audience it wouldn’t matter overmuch. I do wish there were more descriptions of land, her home even Root’s school…

    The things Ogawa did go into detail about, however, I have to agree with you on Kelly. There was a feeling of being able to watch the characters intimately such that the things not there, even as nice as they would have been to read, didn’t detract from it at all.

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