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The Way Inn [Hardcover]

Will Wiles
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014

‘The Way Inn’ takes the polished surfaces of modern life, the branded coffee and the free wifi, and twists them into a nightmare.

The Way Inn is a global chain of identikit mid-budget hotels, and Neil Double is a valued member of its loyalty scheme. Neil is a professional conference-goer, a man who will attend trade fairs, expos and conventions so you don't have to. This life of anonymised, budget travel would be hell for most, but it’s a kind of paradise for Neil, who has turned his incognito professional life into a toxic personal philosophy.

But Neil is about to change. In a brand new Way Inn in an airport hinterland, he meets a woman – a woman he has seen before in bizarre and unsettling circumstances. She hints at being in possession of an astonishing truth about this mundane world. And then she disappears. Fascinated, and with his professional life unravelling, Neil tries to find the woman again. In doing so he is drawn into the appalling secret that lurks behind the fake smiles and muzak of the hotel…


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000754555X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007545551
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Will Wiles is an architecture and design journalist. His first novel, Care of Wooden Floors, was a Waterstones 11 pick and won a Betty Trask award. He lives in London.

Product Description

Review

‘Wiles, a design and architecture journalist, has a magnificent sense of comic timing but also a handy way with sudden violence. As Double'slife begins to unravel under the weight of new revelations, even a clock radio seems to develop an ominous consciousness … “The Way Inn” is Terence Conran meets HP Lovecraft. It is Bulgakov staged in the Tate, Kafka as a new Ikea furniture range. Wiles writes beautiful prose, stages exquisitely painful set-piece scenes of high comedy, and in Neil Double has created a John Self for the Marriott generation. “The Way Inn” is funny, clever and thrilling, its central conceit disturbing enough to demand that you read it outside, if you can.’ Lloyd Shepherd, Guardian

‘Chilling … The twisted novelty of the central idea is neat and memorable.’ Sunday Times

‘An ingenious and smartly funny novel’ Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail

‘A follow-up to last year’s “Care Of Wooden Floors”, taking a simple premise – a businessman staying in a chain of bland hotels – and horrifyingly turning it on its head. It’ll make your skin crawl’ Shortlist

Praise for ‘Care of Wooden Floors’:

‘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. Independent

‘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

About the Author

Will Wiles is an architecture and design journalist. His first novel, Care of Wooden Floors, was a Waterstones 11 pick and won a Betty Trask award. He lives in London.


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Just finished reading this after an intriguing review in last week's Guardian. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author has a great sense of how to pace the action; starting things out steadily and carefully building a sense of foreboding into an exciting, dramatic climax. An exciting novel about conferences and how our ubiquitous semi-public spaces encroach on and shape our lives? Hard to believe, perhaps, but Wiles' sharp eye, gift with language and taste for the surreal combine to create something both thought-provoking and extremely compelling. I blasted through the last act in one exhilarating sitting.

The protagonist is one of those great inventions; a character that's not especially likeable, yet somehow still sympathetic. You relish some of his misfortune, but are still hopeful that he'll triumph in the end. The cast of characters is small, but each person is perfectly drawn so that they appear in your imagination as if in the flesh. All of this is done with an economy of language that keeps you from getting bogged down in reams of descriptive text, a writing style that reminded me a little of Orwell. Thematically as well as stylistically, I got hints of Kafka, touches of Murakami and a big pinch of JG Ballard at his least ostentatious. My only complaint would be that it could have been longer; I'd have happily spent many more hours exploring the corridors of The Way Inn.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Dan
Format:Hardcover
Loved this just as much as his first, but the books are pretty different.

It starts off in a vaguely similar vein - expertly dealing with the mortifications and obsessions of a guy in a difficult situation - but then the narrative opens up to become something quite unexpected and interesting. I didn't read the blurb before reading, so it was an even bigger treat - at times I was scared, other times amused, other times thrilled - always satisfied. Buy this book, and as soon as he writes something else, buy that.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll enjoy your stay at THE WAY INN 17 July 2014
By Kent Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In his first novel, CARE OF WOODEN FLOORS, Will Wiles did something I'd previously thought impossible; he made me care deeply about the removal of a wine stain from the floor of a meticulously modern apartment. From this simple accident Wiles spun a masterful, complex contemplation of order and chaos, of favors gone awry and friendship strained by human frailty. It was a tale told with equal parts humor and horror and, remarkably, it kept me turning pages well into the night.

Thus it was with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation that I approached Wiles' sophomore effort, THE WAY INN. Would this novel measure up to the oddly high bar set by its quirky predecessor? The answer became obvious in the first few pages. I was checked into THE WAY INN every bit as securely as Wiles' less-than-noble protagonist, Neil Double. I didn't have to like Mr. Double, I only had to believe I was seeing the world through his eyes and this I did with ease. Through Double I found myself contemplating the mundane, the relentlessly packaged, processed, economically engineered, corporate approximation of refuge, the modern chain hotel.

One of Wiles talents as a storyteller is his ability to amplify the contrast levels in his tale to extreme levels while still retaining the reader's belief. We smile at the absurdity, but we buy into it. Neil Double is not just a bland business traveler, he's a PROFESSIONALLY bland business traveler. He's a conference surrogate, he goes to business conferences so other businessmen don't have to. And the conference he's attending in this tale? It's the conference of conference organizers. The conference, of course, is being held at the MetaCentre.

In lesser hands this tale of the bland and boring could certainly be bland and boring, but Wiles has an eye for the odd and a strong sense of the absurd. Neil Double is soon a victim of misadventure and chance encounter. A mysterious red-haired woman has pointed out something odd about the abstract paintings that populate the rooms and hallways of THE WAY INN and by the time the mysterious and sinister hotel executive Mr. Hilbert appears, Mr. Double is deep into a thriller that could give Alfred Hitchcock a severe case of vertigo. And if Rod Serling turned out to be the night manager of THE WAY INN, I would not be the slightest bit surprised.

But THE WAY INN is surprising, odder than you can imagine unless your name is Ray Bradbury, Neal Gaiman or Will Wiles. THE WAY INN is a masterful metaphor for an age where corporations are people and people are cogs in machines we too often ignore. But THE WAY INN is more than metaphor, it's a fun story. Neil Double has a problem, it's easy to check into THE WAY INN. Checking out is something of a nightmare.

But don't let that deter you. I checked out 343 pages of THE WAY INN and I'm not quite sure I've left it yet. But it is time very well spent. I'm weary, wiser, and more than willing to buy whatever the next tale is that Mr. Wiles will choose to tell.
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