"Any sentence from Rich is worth reading, any thought worth pondering in this ambitious novel of ideas."--"The New York Times Book Review" (Editors' Choice)"An irresistible literary thriller...Rich mines the terror of our times."--"Rolling Stone""The opposite of disaster, a knockout of a book by a young writer to keep your eye on from now on...As terrifically described as any of the best science fiction we have."--Alan Cheuse, NPR's "All Things Considered""Scarily prescient and wholly original."--Elissa Schappell, "Vanity Fair""Rich's descriptions of the vagaries of both nature and human nature are stark, fresh, and convincing, full of surprise and recognition as both good comedy and good terror must be."--Cathleen Schine, "The New York Review of Books""Nathaniel Rich has turned disaster porn into high art."--Annalee Newitz, "Slate"Praise for "The Mayor's Tongue" "A brilliantly told novel, by turns terrifying, touching, and wildly funny."--Stephen King"An author who could well become one of the defining writers of his generation.""--The Sunday Telegraph ""A spare masterpiece.""--The Boston Globe"
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 the Author
Born in New York City, Nathaniel Rich now lives in New Orleans. He is the author of "The Mayor's Tongue." His short fiction has appeared in "Vice," "McSweeney's," and the "American Scholar"; his essays in the "New York Review of Books," "Harper's Magazine," "Rolling Stone," and "T""he""New York Times Magazine," among other publications.