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Odds Against Tomorrow [Audiobook] [MP3 CD]

Nathaniel Rich , Kirby Heyborne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 21.23
Price: 20.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 May 2013
New York City, the near future: Mitchell Zukor works on the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming. A gifted mathematician, he spends his days in Manhattan calculating worst-case scenarios for FutureWorld, a consulting firm that indemnifies corporations against potential disasters. As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe, he exchanges letters with Elsa Bruner - a college crush with an apocalyptic secret of her own - and becomes obsessed by a culture's fears. When his predictions culminate in a nightmarish crescendo, Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit from the disaster. But at what cost?
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media Inc; MP3 Una edition (6 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452663114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452663111
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,460,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"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" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable climate fiction novel 14 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent read, well-written, fast paced, the main character is a geeky, absent-minded and thoroughly likeable character. The ending is unexpected, though in line with the character's off-beat personality. This was my first "brush" with climate fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The end wouldn't come as a surprise here, many people bank on it. " 3 April 2013
By Amelia Gremelspacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mitchell lives in New York City which he considers to be like the collapse of civilization. He is a quant, which means he is one of those scary people who can analyze great quatitiies of data quickly and use esoteric formulas to extract information. I am not clear on all he does, but it is not at all necessary to the flow of the novel to be fluently conversant in all things quant. All you need to know is that their powers are quite spookily intense.

Mitchell has a clear and constant feeling of dread concerning the different scenarios that can occur to the globe and the human race. And he has quite specific statistics concerning their liklihood. To make this problem more personal to him, he has a quasi-relationship with a woman who has a heart condition that likewise can lose her life at any minute. The whole situation imparts feelings of cockroaches climbing his stomach. He is miserable and working as a nobody in insurance trying to determine indemnity for his bosses.

Comes the day, he goes to work for FutureWorld, selling calamity scenarios, and is a rising star. This book is darkly humorous, sly, and compelling. It probably is not for the naturally fearful reader, but it is definitely for everyone else. The sheer litany of eminent disasters becomes numbing in its utter terror. The characters shuttling to make financial gain in betting on probability of such events and attempting to avoid financial obligation or better yet gain, are familiar to our television screen as they pontificate on their own innocence.

This book is hopefully, partially science fiction. An event does occur that brings the process to a focus. I will not discuss it to avoid spoiler issues. But the writing is sublime in its flow and its ability to lull the reader into one step further each time into not so far fetched futures. I know from reading the reviews of the folks in our community that there is a decent sized audience for this genre, and for you, I recommend this book.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book's For Real 12 April 2013
By Dmitry Portnoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We've all seen this "Twilight Zone" episode: a doomsayer keeps warning of apocalypse; no one believes him; when at the end disaster finally strikes, it comes as vindication and relief.

This book is not like that. It's not a punchline: it's a real novel. It's not predictable. It's not apocalyptic. It feels more and more convincing, real, and grounded with each page. The writing is light, crisp and exact, like a stone skipping over water, but look close, and you will see a depth of erudition and true feeling.

The three-part structure of Nathaniel Rich's novel, as well as its ambition and technique, remind me of Don DeLillo's "White Noise." In that book, when disaster came, things got surreal, and the narrative twisted through a maze of mental mirrors. The book was virtuosic, but rang hollow: false comfort that the disaster will be mainly in our heads.

A quarter century later, we can no longer afford to believe that. While flirting with narrative voice and a touch of formalist symmetry, "Odds Against Tomorrow" commits to and remains faithful to realism. The characters deepen, and the landscape broadens, as the plot accelerates, and the suspense mounts. Finally comes a single page of surprising, sweet, piercing emotional impact. A moral is stated succinctly. The book ends.

It worked in the nineteenth century, and it works again in the twenty first, now that we've buried both Ronald Reagan and David Foster Wallace, and prefer to peer out from inside our heads at the world.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking 26 April 2013
By Happy Skeptic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nathaniel Rich keenly observes trends current society is falling into/has been unconsciously enslaved by. Fear of litigation rather than wise reflection drives decisions. Inertia impels inaction. The short term is all that matters, of course, because the shareholders this quarter will disapprove anything that does not maximize profits. Profits Are Paramount — longterm thinking be damned.

Rich examines the question: so what comes after the impending semi-apocalypse? Is the tree-hugger mentality preferable to the corporate mentality? Post capitalism, how might one thrive? Part of his answer comes from a quote by David Goodis. "There is no such thing as courage. There's only fear. A fear of getting hurt and a fear of dying. That's why the human race has lasted so long." And part of his answer comes in the passage that begins, "...disorder always won in the end. The idea that man could order the world to his own design was the most pitiful fairy tale ever told."

Along the way I enjoyed powerful images Rich turned up, a smooth writing style that flowed from beginning to end and a page-turning story I did not want to end. As dystopian tales go, this one held at least a bit more hope than some. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone thoughtful enough to entertain the notion that something's rotten in Denmark.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew Anxiety Could Be So Entertaining? 27 May 2013
By D. D. Burlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first half of the book is an entertaining perspective on the anxiety which can be induced by doomsday-ish scenarios. I'd give that half of the book four stars. In the second half of the book, the author lost the tone he had succeeded in creating in the first half. And what gives with beginning the book with a first person plural point of view, then drifting into first person (but not the protagonist), and then third person for the rest of it?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written, Beautiful Ambitious Failure 26 April 2013
By Jonathan Dariyanani - Published on Amazon.com
I so very much wanted to love this book. And let me say first that it is utterly, beautifully written. The insight into human nature, the wit, the erudition, the prose itself, all breathtaking. The main character is fascinating and his obsession with the quantification as a method for contemplating mortality, developing him as a character and making some profound musings on our relationship with death...all fascinating. However, as with many books where the plot is conceived before hand and the characters forced into actions that support that plot, the story itself doesn't work. I found the New York disaster scenes flat and derivative and the plot wildly lurching from that point forward...it's all downhill once they leave the apartment. The central absent romance doesn't make sense as the plot develops...though it has a tender touch during the obsessive insights into Mitchell's office bound thoughts, which are the best parts of the book. I could barely finish this book and I didn't care what happened. Didn't care. And that's a shame, because it's a beautiful book and he's a beautiful writer, but at some point the story loses its authenticity. And becomes unoriginal, un-insightful and just plain boring. Can't wait to read The Mayor's Tongue though...this much talent with a better endgame could be spectacular.
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