Monday, January 23, 2012

The Odds by Stewart O'Nan

The Skinny: Good writing but story remains undeveloped
In this novella, a couple’s marriage is falling apart in the midst of financial troubles, affairs, and a foreclosure.  The couple decides to visit Niagara Falls to make one last go at their relationship. Awkward moments and frustration mark their holiday, and readers gain an insight into a marriage that is quickly unraveling.
I thought this story was moderately successful.  I appreciate O’Nan’s ability to highly focus on a relationship that is dissolving, but I was unable to connect with the characters and story. Several situations are alluded to, but never described in detail.  I often felt lost while making my journey through the pages. Unlike past events, emotions and feelings are described so well that the reader acutely feels the betrayal experienced by the characters.  The wife’s bitterness is palpable, and O’Nan’s capacity to transmute feelings into words is respected.
The publisher kindly sent me a copy to review.

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