- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Canada (April 3 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385676395
- ISBN-13: 978-0385676397
- Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2 x 20.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,208,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Care of Wooden Floors Paperback – Deckle Edge, Apr 3 2012
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“A debut as crisp, slick and polished as a well-cared-for wooden floor.”
“Wiles has an eye for beauty, but an even more impressive eye for ugliness. . . . A novel full of impeccably stylish writing.”
“Wiles has a knack for slapstick, and one can’t help but laugh as Oskar’s flat falls farcically foul of his friend’s ‘paralytic pratfalls.’ . . . Care of Wooden Floors is funny, beguiling and quietly profound; it’s a wonderfully well-crafted debut.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“A darkly comic battle of wills.”
“While Wiles’ novel is a slapstick, catastrophic romp, it’s also a rumination on relationships and happiness. . . . National Lampoon couldn’t get into a messier house-sitting situation. . . . Assured, very witty, not too highbrow but gorgeously written. Thumbs up.”
“[Wiles] is a talented comedy writer, and intelligent enough to anticipate his readers’ thoughts so that disasters that unfold are not clumsy slapstick, nor lazily opportunistic gags, but accidents that occur despite the narrator’s best efforts to be careful. . . . A very funny novel combining schadenfreude and belly laughs. Just don’t let Wiles flat-sit for you.”
“Ingenious . . . A smart and polished debut.”
“Strangely compelling . . . weirdly addictive, and rather clever, too.”
—Daily Mail (UK)
“The novel’s strength lies in Wiles’s wry depiction of the battle between chaos and order.”
—The Sunday Times
“This is Will Wiles’ first novel, but it's executed with skill and craftsmanship of a veteran novelist. The prose is clean and elegant, the story tightly focused, the humor and the realism in careful balance. It's a very English comic novel, understated and wry, and even the most absurd events are both self-deprecating and ingeniously necessary for the plot.”
About the Author
WILL WILES was born in India in 1978. He is deputy editor of Icon, a monthly architecture and design magazine, where for three years he has written about everything from Pot Noodle to jumbo jets. He once spent a week trying to find a Chihuahua skeleton. Care of Wooden Floors is his first novel. He lives in London.
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What follows is a catalogue of mini disasters that are blown out of all proportion as they are juxtaposed to the reaction Oskar will have when he finds out. Our hero likes a drink and it is fair to say that wine has a hand in many a misfortune. The ending is well thought out and took me by surprise. I actually really liked this book because of the writing style. Will Wiles can spin a yarn and has a style that is both intelligent and yet has that common touch that you need when being funny in prose. There is a lot of tension and schadenfreude around the antics that are taking place. It is the subject matter that I found a bit off putting, the title says it all, we are talking about a novel whose central theme is that taking care of a dysfunctional floor, for an obsessed nutter who writes symphonies about tram time tables.
That said it is an easy read, but the intense lack of action is sometimes padded by the overly long analysis of how our hero is feeling ' it has a touch of the 19th Century Russian Novel about it in places. Still this is far from a dull read and I would happily read any future offerings from Mr Wiles.
The author clearly has a wonderful vocabulary and command of the english language, however at times it almost seemed like this book was just a venue for him to use every word he'd ever learned. Long drawn out descriptions would wander so far away from the initial topic and get so deeply entrenched in metaphor and simile that you could finish a paragraph and find yourself struggling to recall what the initial point of the thought was. Occasionally the author would really nail these passages, but more often than not it was all lost in a jumble. And while elaborate character development isn't always necessary in a book this book could have used a little more, as I found myself indifferent to the protagonist's fate.
Still, the story itself was unique and I'm glad I finished it. It did end in a humorous way and it's worth giving this book a shot if you can borrow it or find a used copy.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In that way, it reminded me of a Stephen King book, Gerald's Game (Hardcover). Because of the narrator's isolation from human interaction, the exposition got tedious at times, but I still liked the book enough to finish it. But Stephen King is one of the most masterful writers in all of literature. Will Wiles, in contrast, is a first-time novelist, and I think he got a little too ambitious.
Wiles uses the most expansive vocabulary of any author I can ever recall reading, and I am very grateful that I chose to read this in Kindle format, because it meant I could click on any word I didn't know and quickly read the definition. And while some of his analogies fell flat, others were very clever. Wiles is clearly an intelligent man, and this is the type of book to read when you're in the mood for a bit of philosophical musings on the world around you.
I was in the mood for that, which is why I enjoyed the book at first. I abandoned it on page 196, when the author just spent too much time describing the process of disposing a garbage bag in the canal. The author spends pages describing the process of moving from the bedroom to the living room to the front door, then going to the canal and looking at the junk people have deposited along the path. Pages upon pages where the narrator does not speak to anyone else, and everything he focuses his eyes on is described and used in an analogy. The pages are filled with all the thoughts running through the narrator's head; the whole story, really, takes place in his head. And I had just had enough of slogging through this guy's thoughts waiting for something interesting to happen.
But really, if you're looking to read a story that's mostly psychological and philosophical, with very little happening in the way of actual plot momentum, this might be just what you're looking for. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
What you find upon reading the opening chapter is the owner, Oskar, is a meticulous neat freak who frets about all in his beautifully arranged apartment with his two cats and an increasingly difficult and insolent cleaning lady. Of course, we find this 'innocent man' the narrator of the story, suffer through increasing problems. And the narrator's problems are the readers laughs; I laughed out loud numerous times at the absurdity of the situations in this book. The book is certainly Hitchcockian (sure, this is a word) in the sense if you could find dark humor in the movie Psycho, as I did when I saw the Hitchcock classic. And this book has the same feeling to it with a twist of an I Love Lucy episode gone wrong (think of the classic candy factory episode where the absurdity gets more laughs).
The denouement is VERY funny. Although I loved the book, I did think the end brought too quick of a resolution since I wanted to know more about these characters . On the other hand, I blew through the 300 pages of this book very quickly, so I must have liked it. Good show, and too bad old Alfred isn't around anymore, because this book would certainly be either a movie with Cary Grant or a TV episode with the famous silhouette at the beginning.