Synopses & Reviews
In the new novel from the author of Last Night at the Lobster, a middle-age couple goes all in for love at a Niagara Falls casino
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.
"Marion and Art, on the brink of divorce and bankruptcy, head back to Niagara Falls, where they spent their honeymoon decades earlier. This compact novel unfolds over Valentine's Day weekend, culminating with the couple's determination to gamble what money they have left at the roulette wheel in the hotel casino. Taking the metaphor for all its worth and then some, the two risk 'throwing away their savings chasing the high not of money but of sheer possibility.' At his best, O'Nan (Emily, Alone) nails the persistence of betrayal long after wrongs have actually been committed; their desperation has become as routine as ordering dinner. The kitsch of the falls is effectively rendered, though the plot eventually devolves toward clichÃ©, perhaps inevitably in the trappings of the setting. Rooting for the couple becomes more of a challenge once the language begins to feel as predictable as the Maid of the Mist ride. Learning that 'he was more comfortable with the rose as the badge of their love, being both natural and ephemeral, than the ring, which seemed binding and permanent' doesn't so much explain Marion as reveal a dependency on symbolism that at times interrupts an otherwise tender tale of imperfection and commitment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Stewart O'Nan is the author of twelve previous novels, including Songs for the Missing, A Prayer for the Dying, and Snow Angels. In Faithful, he and Stephen King chronicled the 2004 Boston Red Sox. He was born, raised, and lives in Pittsburgh with his family.