The Odds

  • by Stewart O’ Nan
  • Narrated by Boyd Gaines
  • 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

“Stewart O’Nan seems incapable of writing a false line…. O’Nan is a author you learn to trust, no matter what he’s writing about…. A few hours with this witty, sad, surprisingly romantic novel might be a better investment for troubled couples than a month of marriage counseling…Odds of enjoying this novel: 1 in 1.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)
“O''Nan is a master of that ambiguity that can never be mistaken for confusion. In cold-as-glacier-melt prose, his quotidian characters grow indelible in Last Night at the Lobster and Emily Alone and now THE ODDS.” (John Repp, The Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"THE ODDS is a slim volume, sparse in its language and as finely crafted as the tightest of short stories. Some use a barrage of details to make a point. O''Nan trains his eye on the one or two that, in their nakedness, reveal much. The reader cannot help but recognize the rhythms of [a] relationship, disturbed by the pressure imposed by external forces. O''Nan makes points, but never belabors them. The result is an experience that is colored as much by the reader''s experience as by this fine writer''s craft.” (Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Kind of Meh



Art and Marion are on the brink of disaster—not only is their house being threatened with foreclosure but their marriage is a bit rickety as well. In a last-ditch attempt to salvage things, they take a Valentine’s Day trip to Niagara Falls (the site of their long-ago honeymoon) with the remainder of their life savings to risk it all on one big gamble for their future.


I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I’m not even 100% sure why I didn’t like it. I think O’Nan captured all the details and nuances of a long marriage. Everything felt lived in and real. Perhaps that was the problem though. Art and Marion are in a rut. They are not “in love” anymore and can often barely tolerate each other’s company. This made for a difficult listen because I just didn’t look forward to spending time with them. Also, the ending felt abrupt and wrong. Still, I’d read another of O’Nan’s books because it is obvious he can write. I guess I just want to read about someone besides Art and Marion! I did enjoy “the odds” that started each chapter, which often foreshadowed what was to come. I also wanted to try Art’s roulette system. Too bad I couldn’t remember it when I was in Vegas in May!


Boyd Gaines was the narrator and although he did a good job capturing the frustration and worry and nuance in the characters, I still wasn’t captivated by the story. Also his deep voice just wasn’t well-suited for Marion. I think it would have worked better if a female had narrated Marion’s sections.
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- Jennifer "Jennifer"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-19-2012
  • Publisher: Recorded Books