The Music Shop | Rachel Joyce

Picture this:

I am reading  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry , by Rachel Joyce.  As I finish the book, closing it tenderly with tears streaming down my face, we hear the theme song of “Gone with the Wind” playing romantically in the background.  As I finish reading The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, by this author, the music swells as my heart bursts with love for these two books, these characters, this author!  And then… I read Perfect, also by Rachel Joyce.  Scrreeeech!  The music stops abruptly.  What the….?

Seriously.  I had to double check that this was the same author.  The Harold Fry/Queenie Hennessy books captured my heart and drew me in to this strange yet gentle love quandry, but Perfect was just…well, depressing.  Terrible.  Weird.  Blech.

Anyway, this post is not about Perfect, or even the other two, for that matter.  It is a happy post, because Rachel Joyce has redeemed herself in my eyes with the book The Music Shop.

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The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor, written by Yoko Ogawa, is a charming tale of a single mother and the absent-minded professor for whom she becomes a housekeeper and care-taker.   As the result of a head injury, the Professor literally is absent-minded: his short-term memory lasts exactly 80 minutes.  He can remember nothing after 1975 other than these 80 minutes chunks.  Responsibly, and so endearingly, he writes himself notes that he pins to his suit to help him remember important things; for example, the one most prominently placed reads: “my memory lasts 80 minutes”.   When the housekeeper begins working for him, he makes a quick sketch of her face and writes, “new housekeeper’, and promptly pins it to his sleeve.

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