The Way Inn

The Way Inn



The Pequod Review:

Will Wiles's second novel, The Way Inn, is set in the world of corporate conferences and chain hotels, as the book's protagonist (Neil Double, a "conference surrogate" who is paid to attend business conventions in place of others) navigates a series of sterilized and indistinguishable environments. The story gradually becomes a more surreal one as Double's hotel (The Way Inn) reveals unexpected mysteries. And Wiles nails the bland design aesthetics of modern hotel chains: "A small sofa sat in the corridor near the lift, one of those baffling gestures towards domesticity made by hotels. It was not there to be sat in – it was there to make the corridor appear furnished, an insurance policy against bleakness and emptiness."

Despite the superb premise, the book is significantly flawed -- its build-up in the first half is far superior to its resolution in the second, most of the characters are not well-developed, and the story's emptiness often becomes the reader's (and therefore it is not always a pleasant read). But this is an unusually inventive dystopian novel that will stick in your mind long after reading it.