The Housekeeper and the Professor is definitely literary fiction based on those criteria. The housekeeper and the professor aren't named, as names aren't important in the book. Nor is time. What matters are the personalities, their interactions, and the relationship they develop.
The professor is a math genius who remembers nothing that happened after 1975 because of head injuries in a car accident. His short term memory lasts only eighty minutes. His new housekeeper has to remind him who she is every day when she comes in to clean and cook. The professor keeps track of his chores or work schedule by pinning reminder notes to his suit.
In spite of the strange situation, the Professor and the Housekeeper and her young son develop a caring friendship. He teaches them math concepts and math formulas, and becomes concerned about the son's welfare. How this is possible given his short term memory is the basis of the novel.
A five star book, definitely. Also short and easy to read, so long as you don't stop to solve the math problems!
"The thing the Professor hated most in the whole world was a crowd, which is why he was to reluctant to leave the house. Stations, trains, department stores, movie theaters, shopping malls - any place people gathered in large numbers was unbearable for him. there was something fundamentally incompatible between crushing, random crowds and pure mathematical beauty." p. 64(Japanese Literature Challenge 3, Lost in Translation Challenge. and Support your Local Library Reading Challenge)
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