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.
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Five out of Five!
- Pamela Harvey
A Comedy of Errors
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.
- White Noise