Stewart O'Nan's latest slim novel "The Odds" portrays a married couple in crisis. After close to thirty years together Marion and Art Fowler are headed towards divorce. Severe financial distress and previous infidelities have brought the Fowlers to what O'Nan describes as "the final weekend of their marriage." They head to Niagara Falls where they spent their honeymoon. Art hopes to double their savings in the casino and to save their marriage. Marion hopes to remain civil so that they can spend one last weekend together before heading their separate ways.
O'Nan is skilled at portraying complex relationships. The Fowlers have been together long enough to have inside jokes and catchphrases "lifted from favorite movies or TV shows that served as a rote substitute for conversation and bound them like shut-in twins, each other's best and, most often, only audience." Despite their habitual closeness, Art and Marion also keep secrets.
Niagara Falls serves as a symbol of both hope and danger, reinforcing the gambling theme of the novel. "The Odds" is a heartfelt story about marriage and the human desire to take a chance. Stewart O'Nan will be at Library Headquarters on Janurary 25 to discuss "The Odds."
--Jennifer A., Headquarters