Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich
A Novel

85%

6 Critic Reviews

As a study of catastrophe, this novel chills and convinces. Contemporary dystopian fiction cannot rely on fantasy but must engage more rigorously, as Rich does, with the natural world...
-Financial Times

Synopsis

NEW YORK CITY, the near future: Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician, is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. The business operates out of a cavernous office in the Empire State Building; Mitchell is employee number two. He is asked to calculate worst-case scenarios in the most intricate detail, and his schemes are sold to corporations to indemnify them against any future disasters. This is the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming.

As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe—ecological collapse, global war, natural disasters—he becomes obsessed by a culture’s fears. Yet he also loses touch with his last connection to reality: Elsa Bruner, a friend with her own apocalyptic secret, who has started a commune in Maine. Then, just as Mitchell’s predictions reach a nightmarish crescendo, an actual worst-case scenario overtakes Manhattan. Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit. But at what cost?

At once an all-too-plausible literary thriller, an unexpected love story, and a philosophically searching inquiry into the nature of fear, Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow poses the ultimate questions of imagination and civilization. The future is not quite what it used to be.

 

 

About Nathaniel Rich

See more books from this Author
Nathaniel Rich is the author of The Mayor's Tongue. His essays and short fiction have appeared in Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, McSweeney's, and The New York Times Magazine. Born in New York City, he now lives in New Orleans.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 317 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Odds Against Tomorrow
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Teddy Wayne on Apr 11 2013

...“Odds Against Tomorrow” shows real heart in its allegorical conclusion. Any sentence from Rich is worth reading, any thought worth pondering in this ambitious novel of ideas about the way we die now.

Read Full Review of Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Ron Currie Jr. on Apr 09 2013

The central message of “Odds Against Tomorrow” is that whether we acknowledge it or not, the time has passed when we can simply build the sea walls higher and pretend that storms like Sandy are still the exception rather than the rule.

Read Full Review of Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Apr 01 2013

This brilliantly conceived and extremely well-executed novel - no glue and tape here - it's the opposite of a disaster, a knockout of a book by a young writer to keep your eye on from now on.

Read Full Review of Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by John Sunyer on May 03 2013

As a study of catastrophe, this novel chills and convinces. Contemporary dystopian fiction cannot rely on fantasy but must engage more rigorously, as Rich does, with the natural world...

Read Full Review of Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel | See more reviews from Financial Times

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on May 31 2013

...enjoyable reading, but from a serious literary novelist, you finally want something messier and more difficult than the easy odds of a novel full of current events enjoyments.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on May 31 2013

The ambitions and ideas, themes and characters, plot and drama in this book, all together form an easy harmony...but from a serious literary novelist, you finally want something messier and more difficult than the easy odds of a novel full of current events enjoyments.

Read Full Review of Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Odds Against Tomorrow
63%

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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mareth 3 Nov 2013

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Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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