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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
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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