Five words from the blurb: flat, perfection, alone, care, farcical
Oskar lives with two cats in an immaculate flat in Eastern Europe. When forced to go to America to sort out his divorce he leaves his flat in the care of an old university friend. Unfortunately his friend doesn’t have the same high standards of cleanliness and is stressed by trying to maintain the beautifully polished surfaces. He does his best, but small marks become giant stains when he tries to clean them. Everything goes from bad to worse and the story becomes farcical, with increasingly ridiculous situations occurring.
This book is very entertaining and you can look at this now if you are even remotely interested in cleaning and polishing floors! I think everyone can relate to the responsibility of looking after something that doesn’t belong to them and the guilt that results from damaging it.
The comedy in this book is quite dark and often revolves around pain. The violence isn’t graphic, it is more slapstick in nature, but I sometimes felt guilty for laughing at the situations. It wouldn’t have been funny if it happened to me, but there was something about the imagery used that really tickled me.
I should probably warn cat lovers that they may find some scenes in this book distressing, but equally bad things happen to the humans so cats are not singled out for victimisation.
The writing isn’t perfect and there were a few too many similes and metaphors for my liking, but the comedy outweighed any minor problems with the text and I frequently found myself laughing out loud.
This book doesn’t have much depth, but it does raise some interesting issues about perfection. It is an entertaining way to spend a few hours, and I’ll be recommending it to a wide range of different people.