A bold and brilliant debut from a darkly funny new voice.
Oskar is a minimalist composer best known for a piece called Variations on Tram Timetables. He is married to a Californian art dealer named Laura and he lives with two cats, named after Russian composers, in an Eastern European city. But this book isn't really about Oskar. Oskar is in Los Angeles, having his marriage dismantled by lawyers. He has entrusted an old university friend with the task of looking after his cats, and taking care of his perfect, beautiful apartment.
Despite the fact that Oskar has left dozens of surreally detailed notes covering every aspect of looking after the flat, things do not go well.
Care of Wooden Floors is about how a tiny oversight can trip off a disastrous and farcical (fatal, even) chain of consequences. It's about a friendship between two men who don't know each other very well. It's about alienation and being alone in a foreign city. It's about the quest for perfection and the struggle against entropy. And it is, a little, about how to take care of wooden floors.
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Radio 4 Book at Bedtime
‘Funny and richly poetic...a surreal, farcical, original first novel’ The Times Books of the Year
‘A very funny novel combining schadenfreude and belly laughs. Just don’t let Wiles flat-sit for you.’ Independent
‘This is a terrific first novel, written with a very engaging deadpan wit, and an understated sense of the absurd.’ Kate Saunders, The Times
‘ingenious...his story has something in common, in terms of manic sensitivity, with Edgar Allan Poes’ The Tell-Tale Heart...[with] deft and precise descriptive asides. This is a smart and polished debut.’ Daily Telegraph
‘This novel acquires the queasy allure of a cliff edge, the sense of impending catastrophe becoming strangely compelling...addictive and rather clever, too.’ Daily Mail
‘Funny, beguiling and quietly profound; a wonderfully well-crafted debut.’ TLS
“A nicely turned satire on the notion that the path to spiritual contentment lies in a pristine set of polished wooden floorboards ...Wiles has an eye for beauty, but an even more impressive eye for ugliness... a novel full of impeccably stylish writing...” Guardian
‘A novel about minimalism and chaos, which reveals more about the interaction of architecture and life than many an earnest treatise. If you want above all a good read, get this one.’ Guardian Best Architecture Books of the Year
‘Highly idiosyncratic, well-written, with a vivid sense of place – compelling.’ Michael Frayn
‘Care of Wooden Floors is a wonderful work. Precisely constructed, with an eye that sees in between the everyday spaces of our lives, it sheds new light, not only on ourselves, but on the contemporary novel itself.’ Lee Rourke, author of The Canal
‘The novel’s strength lies in Wiles’s wry depiction of the battle between chaos and order.’ Sunday Times
‘entertainingly conjure[s] up a life lived through aesthetics’ Art Review
‘Wiles is a talent to watch’ The Spectator
‘Compelling’ Independent on SundayAbout the Author:
Will Wiles is an architecture and design journalist. He lives in London.
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Book Description William Collins, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. New book Tiny dent on top of rear hard cover. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-1489596214054