Marian and Art are on the brink of divorce and bankruptcy. They decide to gamble all of their emotional and monetary savings on a long Valentine’s Day weekend at Niagara Falls and the roulette wheel. They have already beaten the odds of a couple reaching their 25th wedding anniversary (1 in 6), but not without baggage. Marian’s heart has hardened since Art confessed to an affair — years ago, but she can’t let go of her hurt despite having had an affair of her own for which her own feelings of guilt further complicate their relationship.
O’Nan deftly portrays the petty irritations juxtaposed against the comforting familiarity of a long marriage. Art is naive but optimistic about winning back Marian and winning solvency in the casino. Everything about this weekend is a gamble. Will Marian and Art ultimately beat the odds? O’Nan has become one of my favorite writers. A native of Pittsburgh, O’Nan sets Marian’s and Art’s home in Cleveland. Each of the short chapters begins with a piece of trivia having to do with odds, including “The Odds of the Cleveland Indians winning the World Series: 1 in 25,000.”