A British copywriter stays for a week at his composer friend Oskar’s elegant, ultramodern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: feed the cats, don’t 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 narrator’s 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 Oskar’s notes appear, taking on an insistent — even sinister — tone. Care of Wooden Floors is a must-listen for anyone who’s ever bungled a housesitting gig, or felt inferior to a perfectionist friend — that is to say, all of us.
I love that this book takes a very quotidian situation - housesitting & petsitting - and turns it into white-knuckle-level high drama. In that way the writing reminds me of the "44 Scotland Street" series by Alexander McCall Smith, though "Wooden Floors" goes into much more detail and is augmented by heavy doses of black humor. In fact, found myself laughing out loud - some of the situations were written so as to be so amusing I had to actually stop running in order to get the most out of the hilarious visuals.
If this was all about daily dysfunction, or Murphy's Law, Laurel & Hardy style, that would be enough, but there is character learning and intellectual growth, with exploration of maladaptive personality quirks thrown in.
The book also brings to mind the Mark Twain quote (or was it Oscar Wilde?): "I've had a lot of problems in my life, most of which have never happened."
Loved reading and listening to this!
55 of 59 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
The protagonist of Care of Wooden Floors has been asked to watch a friend's flat in an unnamed Eastern European City. Oscar, the friend, is a fastidious classical musician going through a divorce. The protagonist was Oscars trusted friend from college. The flat is pristine, with a showroom kitchen, designer furniture, two cats, and newish hardwood floors of French oak. Oscar has left notes about the care of the flat in cupboards and cabinets, books, the piano, everywhere. His lack of trust and fear for his flat is clear.
The story that unfolds is a comedy of errors, disasters escalating as damage is done to the flat. Lots of wine is involved. Once, many years ago, I was housesitting when the dog of the house bolted out of the front door, into traffic and under a vehicle, shattering it's leg. This was an extremely traumatic experience and it is fair to say that housesitting gone awry is one of my nightmares.
Care of Wooden Floors starts slowly. Michael Page narrates the audiobook and he is a perfect fit. By the time I was a couple hours into the narrative I was completely engaged. The author takes it a bit far in the end, but how could he not? The situation in the flat almost begs to be overdone. Watching the likable protagonist go through unfortunate situation after unfortunate situation with such a cowardly lack of spine was quite awkward but ultimately entertaining. At one point I began to wonder who was the author's alter ego-- the protagonist or Oscar? I still am not sure. Well written, well read.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
What can go wrong, does go wrong in this black comedy of a housesitting job gone terribly, terribly wrong. The writing is first rate and the narration right on target. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the course of this book. I picked this up due to the deservedly high marks given by other listeners and I'm glad I did! I will be recommending it to my friends.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Care of Wooden Floors?
Will Wiles seems like an exceptional writer, if only he had used those skills to write about something of interest.
Would you ever listen to anything by Will Wiles again?
I'd love to read a mystery or thriller written by him - something with some content to sink my teeth into.
Did Michael Page do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
Michael Page did an excellent job narrating, but it seems like his skills were entirely wasted on this story.
What character would you cut from Care of Wooden Floors?
Not sure I would cut characters, but I would have explored the main characters dark side in my more depth.
Any additional comments?
If I hadn't been traveling and unable to shop for another audiobook, I never would have completed this one. About hal-way through, the book did get a little more interesting, I think that the author could have done a lot more and made this an amazing murder mystery.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The story is entertaining, and I found myself laughing out loud several times. I haven't read the print version, but I think I would have liked it more. There is a lot of sarcasm in the humor which I believe does not come through in the performance
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A sit-com is usually based on a lack of honesty and this story is no exception. But I forgave the narrator early on for not wanting to tell his fussy friend about the barely discern-able wine stain on his perfect floor and was rewarded with a really funny tale that kept me entertained & laughing for a couple of days--exactly what I was looking for. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Parts of the story were too slow and not that compelling, but other parts were quite funny and riveting. The story starts out with a rather intelectual high-brow tone (and dull at times), and becomes progressively more and more slapstick (ridiculous) in its humor. There are a number of laugh out loud moments.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
It ended well, but a bit abruptly.
What about Michael Page’s performance did you like?
It was perfectly good, I have no complaints.
Could you see Care of Wooden Floors being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Yes, this would actually be better as a movie I think.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I wasn't sure I'd get through this one. It's long and tedious and dry. I would say pointless, but it sort of had a point - it's just not a very good one. Unless you need a sleep aid, I'd steer clear of this one.
loved it. like reading a Lucille Ball script. get it, listen and share it now.
What would have made Care of Wooden Floors better?
nothing it was just a drunkalog
What was most disappointing about Will Wiles’s story?
it was supposed to be funny but it was pathetic
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
the narration was good the story was bad
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Care of Wooden Floors?
all of them