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.
“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.”