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The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan
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The Odds: A Love Story (edition 2012)

by Stewart O'Nan

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2912938,609 (3.61)25
Member:BALE
Title:The Odds: A Love Story
Authors:Stewart O'Nan
Info:Viking, Published by Penguin Group (2012), Hard-cover Edition, 179pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:***1/2
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The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
To say I disliked this book is a bit of an understatement, I was just happy to finish the book in the end. For a love story, it lacks any sort of love or compassion between the two characters. They were too flat, emotionless characters, that had little personality, that I failed to see any kind of love or meaningful relationship between them.

The overall plot was also very underwhelming, as they attempted to fix their failed relationship and financial issues by going to Niagara falls and gambling in the casino. The author made a few references to some of the tourist spots to the main strip, but otherwise it didn't have any depth or expanded interest to where it was set, it could have been any place with a casino really and the outcome would have been the same. It was suppose to be a romantic setting, but the book failed to bring the romantic feel of Niagara falls to light.

The ending, was too cliché, but I didn't care by that point, because I was just happy to be finished with the book.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - The Odds: A Love Story ( )
  bookwormjules | Dec 13, 2013 |
For parts of The Odds it feels as though you have been dropped into the middle of a much longer novel. The husband and wife main characters who take turns as narrators reference other characters and events of the past without pausing to explain, and these details are only learned later. In a way this makes the characters seem more real because, after all, when you meet a person in real life you do not learn everything about them all at once, but only over time, as they choose to reveal themselves.
Also adding to the reality of this story was the way in which the husband, Art, and the wife, Marion, spoke to each other. Bits of dialogue were so familiar, yet so startling when seen in print because they were of the mundane details that so rarely get memorialized.
I really enjoyed this snapshot of a couple attempting to salvage their marriage and their finances. The only thing that took away from it for me was the too happy ending, which seemed inauthentic after a whole book of such realness. ( )
  elmoelle | Aug 9, 2013 |
Really good writing stays head and shoulders above all the fast, no class fiction that spends so much time on
Best seller lists. Stewart O'Nan can write . His short novels tell a story in so much detail. Character and setting. I know this couple in some ways all too well . Not my favorite but such a good read. ( )
  librarian1204 | Apr 26, 2013 |
I stumbled on Stewart O’Nan with the intriguingly titled novel, Last Night at the Lobster. This story of ordinary working people and their struggles working minimum wage jobs entertained me all the way through. Emily, Alone came next, and in May 2011, I wrote on my blog, “a quiet, earnest story of ordinary people going about their daily lives, trying to manage the vagaries of existence as senior citizens.” So, when his latest came out, I had high hopes for a three-peat. The Odds did not disappoint.

Art and Marion are nearing their 30th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, both have lost their jobs, and they teeter on the brink of financial ruin. Their marriage isn’t in great shape either. Their solution to these problems is wild. They liquidate all their savings, make a reservation at the bridal suite fanciest casino/hotel in Niagara Falls. Art has a plan to win a great pile of cash to pay off their debts and avoid a financial cliff of their own making.

Early on, fellow Pennsylvanian, O’Nan sums up Art’s and Marion’s characters in a neat little package. He writes, “the brittle, rigid Art … emerged more frequently since he’d been laid off, always lurking just beneath the cheerful veneer. His mother had been the same way, affecting a patrician calm, then breaking into self-righteous tirades when the smallest thing went wrong--tipped juice boxes or overcooked steaks. They shared a sense of entitlement and a selective paranoia, as if the world were conspiring against them. Marion was hurt and angry too, but knew the world wasn’t to blame. They’d had their share of good luck, more than most couples, especially after the mistakes they’d made. She didn’t hold hers above his or vice versa. Like the world, no one was perfect. … If Marion was disappointed in anyone it was herself. She’d promised not to give up on him, but [sometimes] she was convinced she’d be happier alone, and felt selfish” (81).

Relationships are complicated – this one more so that others, but Art and Marion are giving it one last chance with a pile of cash, an American Express Card, and fool-proof system to beat the roulette wheel.

Despite this plan, they are somewhat practical. Marion muses, “You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole—like the world, or the person you loved” (98).

This pleasant little novel of only 179 pages also has a streak of humor. Each chapter heading gives the odds for a variety of activities. For example, “Odds of a tourist visiting Niagara Falls: 1 in 195” (1); “Odds of a married couple making love on a given night: 1 in 5” (37); “Odds of a couple taking a second honeymoon to the same destination: 1 in 9” (57); “Odds of a jazz band playing 'My Funny Valentine' on Valentine’s Day: 1 in 1 (123); and “Odds of the Cleveland Indians winning the World Series: 1 in 25,000” (161).

However, the odds of enjoying this fun novel – by my calculations – 1 in 1. 5 stars.

--Jim, 4/10/13 ( )
  rmckeown | Apr 10, 2013 |
O'Nan is a master at sketching out the details of his characters so flawlessly, that it's sometimes painful to watch them act out their lives. In The Odds, he follows a couple over one weekend at Niagra Falls, as they try to win back their savings, their house and -- at least one of them is hoping -- thier marriage. ( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
"Readers of contemporary literary fiction should enjoy the subtle dry humor and a story that gains momentum and pitches toward a satisfying, if somewhat ambiguous happy ending."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Christine DeZelar-Tiedman (Nov 1, 2011)
 
The novels of American author Stewart O’Nan – he has written about a dozen – are models of craftsmanship, empathy, psychological insight and social acumen. ....O’Nan’s prose is agile, light and utterly unself-conscious. Very contemporary. At the same time, his superb rendering of psychological drama recalls 19th-century novelists like George Eliot. He has good fun with this story. While the couple prepare for their big gamble, Art does his best to create a honeymoon atmosphere. Out of pity and exhaustion, Marion humours him......And about halfway through the novel, we begin to hope they can work things out. What are the odds?
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670023167, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:11 -0400)

"A middle aged couple goes all in for love at a Niagara Falls casino"--

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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