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#388 ~ The Odds

The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O’Nan

Published by: Penguin Group

Published on: January 19, 2012

Page Count: 192

Genre: Fiction

My Reading Format: eGalley requested from NetGalley

Available Formats: Hardcover and eBook


My Review

Art Fowler, a middle aged man, has lost his job and his life is falling apart. He and his wife Marion are on both the verge of foreclosure and divorce. In a last ditch effort to save both their marriage and their home, they cash out all of their money and head to Niagara Falls with the hopes of doubling their money in the casino. Art plans the trip and sweats every single detail. Marion is simply going along for one last ride before divorcing. Together they spend Valentine’s Day weekend trying to make up for a marriage full of mistakes and regret.

There is so much to like about The Odds. Each section of the novel begins with different statistical odd that sets the mood for the section to come. This both kept the title close in mind and brought focus to what was to come for Art and Marion. There was also an incredible scene at a Heart concert full of middle aged drunkenness and drug use. I defy any reader familiar with Heart to leave this book without having at least one of their songs playing in your head (and there’s “Baracuda” again). Best of all was simply the way in which the story of this Valentine’s Day weekend in Niagara Falls was told. The weekend develops in sections alternately narrated by Art and Marion. There is always two sides to every marriage and this narrative decision made me feel as though I knew the couple well. As Art made his plans, I was anticipating Marion’s reaction, feeling sorry for them both. There isn’t another way I could have felt more invested in the story.

Last Night at the Lobster remains my favorite O’Nan novel. It may always be because it was my first. Unlike Songs for the Missing, The Odds evoked the same emotion. It left me amazed that I would find a story about a common occurrence and feel as though the outcome very much was about me. The Odds is classic O’Nan. Within an intimate situation fraught with the stress of imminent loss, he shines a light on a small spot on the map and makes it feel universal. The more O’Nan I read, the more I seriously consider making appreciating his work a requirement for friendship.

12 Comments

  • At 2012.01.20 02:31, Amy @ My Friend Amy said:

    The more O’Nan I read, the more I seriously consider making appreciating his work a requirement for friendship.

    Whew than that I love O’Nan’s work! I agree he’s amazing. I’m not quite finished with this one yet.

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    • At 2012.01.20 08:29, JoAnn said:

      I can’t wait to read this one! Laughing at your last sentence – guess we can stay friends;-)

      • At 2012.01.20 08:40, Mary said:

        I haven’t read any of his books but after reading the reviews for The Odds in the past week I think I need to start soon. Love your review!

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        • At 2012.01.20 08:42, Roof Beam Reader said:

          Great review! I’ve had Last Night at the Lobster on my wish list for a long time, and this one sounds good, too.

          Have you read A Prayer for the Dying? That’s definitely my favorite O’Nan novel.

          • At 2012.01.20 09:05, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

            I’ve never experienced O’Nan’s work, but this one sounds thought provoking, if not a little sad.

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            • At 2012.01.20 11:15, Ti said:

              That Heart concert was hysterical! Can people really drink that much? Smoke that much? LOL.

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              • At 2012.01.20 12:34, Sandy said:

                I’ve got this one on my wish list (at the top of) based on the write-up in Bookmarks. I have only read Emily Alone, and it underwhelmed me probably because I was living in a chaos shitfest at the time, and his book was gentle. But I did appreciate the talent there, and need to read another one. I’m hoping that this will be the one.

                • At 2012.01.21 20:03, Lori L (she treads softly) said:

                  I totally agree with your sentiment: “The more O’Nan I read, the more I seriously consider making appreciating his work a requirement for friendship.” All of O’Nan’s stories are great. Whenever I read and review one of his books it’s all just a matter of rating how great the new book is based on his previous books.

                  • At 2012.01.22 20:13, Emily said:

                    This sounds good! I’ll have to add it to the list. Thanks for the recommendation!

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                    • At 2012.02.20 17:54, sagustocox said:

                      I had not read O’nan before, but after reading Ti’s review on Book Chatter, I took it out from the library. This slim book has so much to say.

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                      • At 2012.02.23 11:05, The Odds by Stewart O’Nan said:

                        […] This is my 12th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.  I borrowed this one from the library after reading Ti’s review at Book Chatter.  Also check out the review from Literate Housewife. […]

                        • At 2012.03.02 14:22, Patti's Pages said:

                          Sounds like I’ve been missing out on this author. Thanks for the review.

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