Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Odds by Stewart O'Nan

What a wonderful weaver of language! A lot of reviews complain that this is not O'Nan's best work, but never having read him before, I enjoyed the book highly. This book was shorter than I expected, having gotten it as an ARC from NetGalley. It's only two hundred pages but packs a tight story in those short passages.
"...she thought, if offered, she might actually seize the opportunity to rewind to sixteen or seventeen and start over to avoid all of this--then remembered [her children]. 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. With the Southern Comfort warming her, short-circuiting her thoughts, the idea seemed profound..."
Art and Marion have been married for thirty years. They've had ups and downs (and infidelities) but right now is definitely a down. Because of the downturn in the economy, both have been laid off from their jobs. They are in the morass of unlucky people who were approved for home loans that they never should have been given. Combine the job loss, the massive mortgage and several bad money choices and they're at their wits end. The plan is to declare bankruptcy and then divorce. The divorce is supposed to be for show but Marion is starting to wonder if she shouldn't just let it stand. She's tired of this marriage and tired of Art. Art, on the other hand, is an eternal optimist and ready to try to make it all work. This is the story of one last hurrah, a trip to their honeymoon destination, just to see if they can recapture the magic in their marriage, and maybe earn a little money while gambling as well.

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