Care of Timber Floors by Will Wiles – Review

timber floors

Will Wiles is a London-based author and writer of contemporary content. He was born in 1978 in India and is a well-known contributor to a couple of magazines. He writes consistently on topics such as interior design, home repair, maintenance, and architecture. He has authored three novels; the most reviewed one is Care of Wooden Floors.

Will Wiles also authors the novel called Plume. Another of his famous works is the novel titled The Way Inn, which was submitted for The Encore Award. Care of Wooden Floors was nominated for Betty Trask Award where it emerged top. The prolific publisher 4th Estate published all his novels in London, United Kingdom.


Introduction to the Novel

This is Will Wiles’ debut novel and is set on a lofty house in a big neighbourhood of an Eastern European city. It is coloured with satire, including the notion that a nicely polished wooden floorboard is the secret to pristine spiritual contentment.

The protagonist in the novel arrives in the city with the keys of an apartment in hand. The house belongs to a character named Oskar, who happens to be an old university schoolmate. The friend requires a caretaker for his apartment as he is away in America. The protagonist is, therefore charged with the responsibility of feeding the host’s cats and cleaning the wooden floor.


Description of Plot

Oskar is an internationally celebrated composer of works of art, including the poem titled “Variations on Tram Timetables”. The novel’s narrator, on the other hand, is a council copywriter who is excited to go on a free holiday in his old colleague’s flat. He hopes to discover new things while treating himself to free food and refreshments already stocked in the house.

He describes the city, neighbourhood, and house as very neat, well arranged and spruce. He even adds satire to the description by appearing to say that even the dust motes are well organized. The wooden floor is said not to have a coat of furnish, but a manicure. The narration says that the wooden floor is too sensitive to walk or stand on.


Oskar’s Obsession with Neatness

To ensure the cleanliness and shininess of the wooden floor, Oskar has an instructional manual that describes thorough procedures in great detail. On one of the shelves in the flat is a volume called “Care of Wooden Floors”. The instructions are so delicate that the main character of the novel believes they were sourced from a body shop as opposed to a hardware shop.

Wile’s writing demonstrates that he knows a great deal about wooden floors, just as much as he knows about cats. He characterizes a pair of pampered cats named Shossy and Stravvy. One has an indistinguishable coat of black while the other has a pure, unblemished white skin.


Second Part and Conclusion

The plot of the novel is very absorbing, especially in the first half. However, some readers may feel housebound towards the end as the narration doesn’t seem to be going places. The narrator doesn’t quite find the joy and happiness that he hoped he would find while on this free holiday.

He thinks of the city as full of hostile old women, Soviet-era architecture, antique trams and an oppressive aura of loneliness. He wonders why his old friend Oskar chose to live here, yet he had all the financial power to live elsewhere in the world.

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