“The Odds” by the consistently readable Stewart O’Nan is a novella about the last chance of saving a disintegrating marriage. A middle age couple each of whom had episodic infidelties are near bankrupt economically and in the case of the wife, emotionally. She cannot get over her husband’s transgression and he is bent on making a final effort to repair their marriage by returning to Niagara Falls where they spent their honeymoon. They have agreed, the wife passively, to gamble their only remaining funds to perhaps salvage their finances or at worst to just walk-away. She has gone and plays along out of care, but not love, for husband.
There are parts of O’Nan’s writing that resonate. The people are real. He captures a middle age marriage where comfort has replaced any excitement. The husband’s infidelity perhaps was a chance for excitement, pursued more innocently with a married woman more accustom to infidelity. The wife experimented with another female, more as a rebound from her husband’s trist, then of commitment.
The ending is somewhat sappy, but the read is otherwise pleasurable. It has the feel of a Richard Russo novel.