"The final weekend of their marriage, hounded by insolvency, indecision, and, stupidly, half-secretly, in the never distant past ruled by memory, infidelity, Art and Marion Fowler fled the country."
So begins this small gem of a story by Stewart O'Nan - he who pens tales with acuity, compassion and a clear-eyed view. The Odds is a slender novel featuring two very ordinary people, Art and Marion Fowler who upon reaching their 30th wedding anniversary find themselves facing continued unemployment, foreclosure, and divorce. There seems to be but one solution - take what is left of the money they have, $40,000, gleaned from liquidated assets and gamble in an attempt to save their home and perhaps their marriage.
They go to Niagara Falls where they spent their honeymoon. For Art it's to be a final weekend of pleasure all paid for on his soon to be maxed credit card. But, what difference - they'll soon be declaring bankruptcy. He has planned the most luxurious trip - booked the most expensive suite in the resort's most upscale casino, bought a new engagement ring for Marion, bought tickets for a concert by her favorite rock band, all in hopes of winning her back.
As the pair travel, see the sights and prepare for their big night at a roulette wheel, we learn of their years together from both Art and Marion's perspective - the mistakes, disappointments, lies, infidelities. Healing these wounds let alone winning enough money to become solvent again seems an impossibility. What are the odds?
Stewart O'Nan is a writer of rare achievement ably blending the bittersweet with humor. In his stories of what some may call mundane lives we find extraordinary heart. Don't miss The Odds.
- Gail Cooke
Penguin Books|September 25, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-312227-2
"Stewart O'Nan's thirteenth novel is another wildly original, bittersweet gem like his celebrated Last Night at the Lobster.
Valentine's weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances - and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness, and last chances. THE ODDS is a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble."
According to the above synopsis of THE ODDS from the Chapters website, the book sounds like an interesting read. However, quite the opposite is true. I just couldn't get into this story at all. I found is painfully boring and slow with no excitement or anything to even entince me to try to keep reading further. I did give it a good try and perservered through the first five chapters but just couldn't push myself any further. I would not recommend this book to anyone.