Released 2021 by Delphinium Books:
The Opposite of Chance
a new novel by Margaret Hermes
At thirty-two, Betsy is sheltered. Sheltered by a close-knit family, Catholic schools, college in her hometown, and a marriage at 20. It takes the discovery of her husband’s serial philandering to open her eyes and push her out of the nest. It’s the summer of 1981, Betsy grabs a backpack and a few good books and puts distance—geographically and emotionally—between herself and the life she knew in the American Midwest. She begins to make her own decisions: about cities, hotels, and dinner entrées. At airports, on trains, and in pensiones, Betsy takes her first steps into independence as she negotiates the brief, but intense relationships travelers have. Armed with a book of travelers’ phrases and a Swiss Army Knife, she brushes up against possibilities for connection, almost entering the life stories of the strangers she chances upon and whose paths we follow in alternating chapters. We become acquainted with a devout Muslim on a pilgrimage, a French financier raised on a rabbit farm, a lawyer on a solo honeymoon, a Pakistani gambler, a beguiling American threesome en route to Venice, an Italian hotel owner on Lake Como, and a passionate Irish protestor who literally carries her to safety from the streets of Dublin. Finally, back home, Betsy comes to the startling realization that her journey is only just beginning.
The Opposite of Chance was named one of “20 of our favorite books from 2021 by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Margaret Hermes is the winner of the Doris Bakwin Book Award. Her work has received several prizes and honors, including an unprecedented Second Place for the 2013 Balcones Fiction Prize and First Place in “The Write Stuff” short story competition.
Writer Margaret Hermes types with her index fingers after composing longhand. She tapped out her first novel on a Smith Corona that now rests in a boat floating in the Pacific (the typewriter, not the novel). Though she won first place in a short fiction contest that upgraded her keyboard to a personal computer, she continues to first set words on paper with a ballpoint pen.