Odds Against Tomorrow

Nathaniel Rich. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-22424-0
Recent current events have conspired to make this chilling novel even timelier than author Rich (The Mayor’s Tongue) could have anticipated. Stochastic wiz Mitchell Zukor works for a unique consulting firm, FutureWorld, predicting disasters that companies can indemnify themselves against. Living in Manhattan, Mitchell spends his days calculating the full range of catastrophic events the city might face—earthquakes, nuclear war, terrorist attacks, pandemics, financial meltdowns, tsunamis. Leading a lonely existence, his only human connection, aside from the waitresses at the Korean restaurants he frequents, is an epistolary one shared with a former college classmate who suffers from a rare heart condition. Then one of Mitchell’s predicted worst-case scenarios comes true: a hurricane of unprecedented force devastates the city. Trapped with Jane, a coarse-tongued officemate, in his apartment, Mitchell turns his attention to survival. But in the storm’s aftermath, in a drowned city of bewildered survivors, Mitchell is perplexed to find himself sought out as the new prophet of the apocalypse. It is almost impossible to read this novel without indelible images of Hurricane Sandy coming to mind. The novel succeeds on its own terms in envisioning such a disaster in terrifyingly visceral terms. And Mitchell’s intensely fraught journey from man of intellect to man of action is one the reader will not soon forget. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary Associates. (Apr. 2)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 04/02/2013
Genre: Fiction
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