Favorable Odds

More excellent reviews of The Odds.

The Boston Globe

What’s loveliest about this novel is its exploration of older love and the ways a marriage ebbs and flows. Art’s hips hurt, and Marion’s feet can’t bear her fancy shoes. They have episodes of queasy stomachs and not being able to handle their alcohol. There is also a hilariously wonderful Heart concert they both attend amidst a sea of middle-aged baby boomers, where they get stoned on weed and tequila, and Art begins to wonder whether he can last through it, “constrained and impatient, as if waiting to be released.’’

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Local literary heroes Jane McCafferty and Stewart O’Nan unleash love story feasts

Mr. O’Nan masterfully plumbs the inner lives of a longtime couple — shared jokes, gastrointestinal intimacies, perfunctory lovemaking that elevates with a tequila assist. With his taut, accomplished storytelling, the tension over Art’s make-or-break strategy builds to a gripping crescendo.

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The Sun Break
In Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds, the Drink is Marriage on Niagara’s Rocks

I don’t want to quote too much from The Odds, by Stewart O’Nan, because it’s a small book, about 180 pages, and his style isn’t the pyrotechnic kind that, in a paragraph, leaves you wide-eyed. I’d just end up giving things away. The Los Angeles Times called him “the spokesperson of the regular person,” and you can see what they were getting at, but O’Nan’s gift is to somehow, through building up the stream of life’s matters of fact, surmount them.

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The Seattle Times
‘The Odds’: spinning the wheel of marriage

The author deftly captures Art and Marion’s genuine (if mixed) emotions. These heartfelt portraits contrast sharply with those of their tacky surroundings: the cheesy tourist traps, the artificially cheerful hotel room, the casino’s weirdly clock-free ambience. There are also cannily observed scenes of the casual affection and familiarity in long-term marriages, as well as unexpected surprises, like when Marion gets wild and crazy during a Heart concert.

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The MetroWest Daily News

 And what are the odds that you’ll fight with your mate on Valentine’s Day after having read “The Odds?” My answer is 1 in 100. That’s because you may have learned something from Art and Marion.

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