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Care of Wooden Floors
Synopses & Reviews
A British copywriter house-sits at his composer friend Oskars ultra-modern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: Feed the cats, dont touch the piano, and make sure nothing damages the priceless wooden floors. Content for the first time in ages, he accidentally spills some wine. The apartment and the narrators sanity gradually fall apart in this unusual and satisfying novel.
Oskar has left several notes for his friend, gently instructing him in the proper maintenance of the flat. But over the course of one disastrous week, as the situation in (and out) of the apartment spirals out of control, the notes take on a more insistent—and creepily prescient—tone.
Anyone who has ever felt inferior to a perfectionist friend will sympathize with the narrators plight. Wiles is a genuinely funny comic novelist in the tradition of those two earlier British Ws, Wodehouse and Waugh.
"This darkly humorous novel from U.K. journalist Wiles involves a nameless protagonist whose eight days of house-sitting turn out to be a lot more hassle than he bargained for. A freelance copywriter in London does his old university friend, Oskar, now a classical musician, a big favor by staying in his 'nice flat' located in an unspecified and dour Slavic city. Oskar is a 'borderline obsessive-compulsive' who leaves very specific instructions on a number of notes posted throughout the flat, including not only the care of cats Shossy and Stravvy, but, of greater importance, that of the expensive French oak floors. Oskar, in L.A. to deal with divorcing his wife, intends to return soon to his 'island of perfection.' Unfortunately, the befuddled protagonist is a hapless caretaker; he lets one of Oskar's cats die (via piano lid) and, perhaps worse, he spills red wine on the floor. 'Batface,' the flat's bellicose cleaning lady, is no help rescuing the precious floorboard. The narrator is pleased to find that Oskar has a 'human' side when he uncovers his hidden porn stash, but the maintenance of the wooden floors soon takes a horrid turn. A strikingly original debut. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
For fans of Nicholson Baker and Tom McCarthy, this British debut novel is brilliant, comically surreal entertainment about a housesitting gig gone terribly, hilariously wrong. Like Edgar Allen Poe scripting The Odd Couple, or if Kafkas The Trial had to do with home repair. Waterstones calls it "a black comedy about death, destruction, and interior decoration."
A witty debut novel about a housesitting gig gone terribly, hilariously wrong.
A British copywriter stays for a week at his composer friend Oskars elegant, ultramodern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: feed the cats, dont touch the piano, and make sure nothing harms the priceless wooden floors. Content for the first time in ages, he accidentally spills some wine. Over the course of a week, both the apartment and the narrators sanity fall apart in this original and “weirdly addictive” (Daily Mail) novel.
As the situation in and out of the sleek apartment spirals out of control, more of Oskars notes appear, taking on an insistent—even sinister—tone. Care of Wooden Floors is a must-read for anyone whos ever bungled a housesitting gig, or felt inferior to a perfectionist friend—that is to say, all of us.
About the Author
Will Wiles is a journalist and the deputy editor of Icon, a monthly architecture and design magazine in the U.K. His work has appeared in that magazine, Cabinet, New Statesman, and other publications. He is at work on his second novel.
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