Some thoughts on THE WAY INN by Will Wiles


Will Wiles’ first novel, Care of Wooden Floors (2012),* suspended its protagonist in the tragicomic tension of occupying another man’s home, so perfectly designed to reflect the personality of its owner (a minimalist composer) that any other person trying to navigate it would be bound — like that protagonist — to chaotic misadventure. Wiles’ new novel, The Way Inn (Harper Perennial), instead takes on a space tailored to no personality, the anonymous hallways and rooms of a corporate chain hotel with locations all over the world, each meant to feel as blandly familiar and welcoming to the corporate road warrior and conference attendee as any other. As those anonymous spaces become imbued with personality, the banal revealing itself to be idiosyncratic and unpredictable, so too The Way Inn becomes a novel between or across genres: the thriller, the haunted house story, the quietly reflective contemporary novel of work.


Look at that—Paul and Sandra Fierlinger’s animated version of J.R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip is streaming on Hulu. Here it is, featured in Hulu Summer Film School’s animation roundup.

(via othernotebooksareavailable)

Within the larger Kirishima Mountain Range, there is a smaller ridge dotted with several peaks that runs across the center of the island from Mt. Karakuni to Mt. Takachiho. The tops of these peaks rise above the forest with terrains like moonscapes—covered in scrubby plants, pebbles, and dust. Craters dot the ridge line, some dry, others filled with sparkling blue water.

“The coyotes worked in teams, taking what they needed while the subdivisions slept and the moon and stars rattled around in the sky. It took two or three of them to carry a piece of lumber; they would clamp it in their jaws, stop every so often to rest and readjust.”

OWEN: While The Dig is such a realistic book in many senses, it also felt like it was probing something more ancient, even mythological. You’ve written previous works inspired by Welsh mythology. Can you explain the role of this mythology in terms of how you write?

CYNAN: Lambing time is very physical – not least the requirement to rhythmically check the animals throughout the day and night. A few weeks in, you’re tired, fundamentally, and somewhat robotic. Which turns everything a little spacey. That, the sense you’re part of an ancient and very deep-seated process, the fact you’re alone in a shed at four in the morning – these things all combine to create a sense of strangeness. The mythological, sometimes semi-Biblical shade of the language represents that. (Again, the story set that rule).
But also, vital to creating a resounding story, there has to be more than what’s on the page. The reader should instinctively feel a sense of biggerness. That, I would say, is the territory of myth.

Satellite Lamps is a project about using design to investigate and reveal one of the fundamental constructs of the networked city—the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is made up of a network of satellites that provide real-time location information to the devices in our pockets. As GPS has moved from specialized navigation devices to smartphones over the last 10 years, it has become an essential yet invisible part of everyday urban life.

Kairos (via new-aesthetic)

Critical judgment can never be avoided entirely; it always lies behind discussions of aesthetic merit. But in my opinion, judgment is only the precursor to criticism, its necessary spark but not at all its fulfillment, which is only to be found in the further elucidation of the way the work constitutes itself as a work of fiction or poetry, of the specific nature of the experience of reading the work attentively. The work may present itself in a way that is completely familiar or utterly alien, or somewhere in between. The critic at the least must give a plausible enough account of the text’s perceptible qualities to make the critical judgment credible, but just as often judgment might be simply assumed, taken for granted, even neglected altogether. Criticism that is able to “encourage more thoughtful reading” is valuable criticism indeed, and if in many cases the critic discusses works he/she implicity values highly in order to “help readers ‘understand’ why they’re good,” this is probably in the long run a much more worthwhile expenditure of critical energy than the effort to demonstrate that some works aren’t. (This use of critical intelligence to illuminate the aesthetic accomplishments of literary works amounts to the “promotion” of literature in the very best sense the term can bear.)

Viking Eggeling, Symphonie Diagonale (1924)