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Will Wiles

Care of Wooden Floors

Will Wiles Care Of Wooden Floors
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A British copywriter house-sits at his composer friend Oskar’s ultra-modern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: Feed the cats, don’t 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 narrator’s 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 narrator’s plight. Wiles is a genuinely funny comic novelist in the tradition of those two earlier British W’s, Wodehouse and Waugh.

“This novel has everything I look for: Line by line the sentences are a pleasure, page by page the story enthralls, and as a whole, the novel is expertly constructed, each precisely cut plank snapping perfectly into place. Clever, funny, creepy, atmospheric, and very entertaining. I realize that's a lot of adjectives, but read the book and you’ll see.”— Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

“Funny, beguiling, and quietly profound . . . a wonderfully well-crafted debut.” Times Literary Supplement

""Guffaw-out-loud moments…married to the horrified recognition that provokes empathy. A very funny novel provoking schadenfreude and belly laughs."" The Independent

“Highly idiosyncratic, well-written, with a vivid sense of place–and weirdly compelling.” –Michael Frayn, author of Skios and Headlong

“One of the funniest and cleverest books of the year….Care of Wooden Floors reads like a farce directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the novel’s denouement will surprise even the most jaded readers.”Washington Independent Review of Books

Fawlty Towers crossed with Freud.”Daily Telegraph

“A nicely turned satire on the notion that the path to spiritual contentment lies in a pristine set of polished wooden floorboards... CARE OF WOODEN FLOORS indicates that Wiles has an eye for beauty, but an even more impressive eye for ugliness. It's a novel full of impeccably stylish writing.” Guardian

“This is a terrific first novel, written with a very engaging deadpan wit, and an understated sense of the absurd.” The Times

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize

Selected as “Best Fiction Debut of 2012,” ShortList

“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.” Publishers Weekly (starred review; a “Best New Book of the Week”)

Care of Wooden Floors is a charming and engrossing story…This is Will Wiles’ first novel, but it's executed with [the] 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.”
The Toronto Star

 Shortlisted in the Specsavers National Book Award for “New Writer of the Year”

“If you are a fan of Kafka, you should enjoy this novel, which is reminiscent of The Metamorphosis.”Kirkus Reviews

Care of Wooden Floors turns the placid act of house-sitting into one man’s existential nightmare.” New York Times

“A tight, lovely, unique work full of heart as well as darkness…Wiles is a strong new voice. Enjoy this one with a glass of wine—if you dare.” —Bookpage


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