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The Parables of Chance

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The Parables of Chance by John Nicholson tells the story of people living in a small town in the Midwest called Parables. The characters are seemingly separate from each other but tied together in ways they don’t see. Using the technique of an omnipresent narrator, Nicholson utilizes a play on words to examine a town growing and changing in ways the locals’ regret. The treatment of animals is the yardstick by which this society is measured. Abused and abandoned animals used to be unusual but are now becoming more common. As an old-timer, Sam laments, “The more this town grows, the farther it drifts from the values that made it such a great place.”

The main character around which most of the story revolves is a cat called Tabby. He is a pawn in a bitter split, beloved by Tony but given to Ruth in their divorce settlement. In a fit of misguided vengeance, Ruth abandons him. Tabby is then cruelly abused by a drunk called Rick and attacked by a wily street cat and then a fox; he is finally rescued by a kind-hearted student nurse, Lizzie, and she renames him Chance.

All the kind and terrible things the characters do or experience are tied somehow to Tabby/Chance and each other. A fistfight between Tony and Rick over the cat results in Olivia almost losing her baby. Unknown to Olivia, the nurse who treats her and gives her hope is the same woman who rescued Tabby.

The Parables of Chance is satisfying in that, unlike real life, in these “parables,” the bad guys get what’s coming to them, and the good guys get their “chance,” learn their lessons and find their happy endings. This novel is filled with suspense and drama that readers will be hooked into as they follow a mistreated tabby cat named Cance.

Pages: 247

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