Odds Against Tomorrow

oddsagainstOdds Against Tomorrow
by Nathaniel Rich
2013 / 320 pages
read by Kirby Heyborne 10h. 16m
Rating:  8

Mitchell Zucker is a financial analyst for an unusual company which protects the big corporations against worst-case scenarios – floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes … It’s very profitable.

So Mitchell becomes a professional doom-sayer as well as a personal worry-wart.  His mother always managed to control as many variables as possible,  but now Mitchell really believes she’s in denial.  His friend Sarah who has gone to live in a kind of hippie commune in Maine is concerned with the drought but doing nothing.   Mitchell believes he has transcended these pitfalls by becoming a businessman who deals directly with the issues – and he makes very good money helping other businessmen to see the dangers and maintain indemnity against loss.  That’s what Mitchell sells – very well – because is personally scared.

And just then, in the middle of a sale,  Hurricane Tammy hits (whole story about his novel being written prior to Hurricane Sandy) and the profiteers have to run or swim or boat for their lives.  Mitchell and his friend Jane manage to make it out and up to Maine,  but then the second half of the book starts – survival as a refugee in FEMA camps with the starving, violent people there.

This is definitely a page-turner and the sentences are nicely strung together with farily apt metaphors.  It’s sometimes funny but that may be due to  the interpretation of the reader.   It’s often spot-on about emotional reactions to perilous times.   Odds Against Tomorrow is certainly not futuristic – this could have happened yesterday and it likely will happen before too long – and it could also be read as a kind of metaphor about handling personal fears – face them and grow.

Kirby Heyborne does a credible job of narrating but it’s sometimes exaggerated – to emphasize the satire?  Similar to Dick Hill’s of Against the Day.

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