Chances Are

Chances Are

Book - 2019 | First edition
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"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Russo--in his first stand-alone novel in a decade--comes a new revelation: a gripping story about the abiding yet complex power of friendship. One beautiful September day, three sixty-six-year old men convene on Martha's Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn't have been more different then, or even today--Lincoln's a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin' age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, forty-four years later, as this new weekend unfolds, three lives and that of a significant other are displayed in their entirety while the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery. Shot through with Russo's trademark comedy and humanity, Chances Are ... also introduces a new level of suspense and menace that will quicken the reader's heartbeat throughout this absorbing saga of how friendship's bonds are every bit as constricting and rewarding as those of family or any other community. For both longtime fans and lucky newcomers, Chances Are ... is a stunning demonstration of a highly acclaimed author deepening and expanding his remarkable achievement"--
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101947746
Branch Call Number: FIC RUSSO R

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j
jackhwolf
Sep 13, 2020

I recently became enamored of Russo and loved Everybody's Fool which I gave 5 stars.
Perhaps, I liked that book because I was unfamiliar with the cultural context of the hardscrabble Appalachian blue collar culture, and the humor was infective.
This cultural context of three male baby boomers who attended college together in the late 60s and were reuniting 40 years later, was something I knew and lived, but did not find it quite authentic. The Harley riding hard living guitar player Mickey seemed a cliche to this old hippy as did the central mysterious character, Jacy, who they had all loved and had disappeared. She was the heroine- tough mischievious adventurer- but I didnt see a believable character there. Nor was the plot line of her adoptive parents and father- too contrived.
Given those complaints, there is a lot of power in his well built plot centered on unravelling the mystery of Jacy's disappearance 40 years prior, which was a page turner. He is a good mystery writer.

t
tjdickey
Jul 30, 2020

Russo's tale is a bit less humorous than many of his novels, but his deft touch and light-hearted but devastatingly insightful observation of humanity makes for an excellent read. Look for poignant commentary on generations from the Vietnam War to the 2016 election.

b
blcwrites
Jan 25, 2020

No point in repeating the 4-5 star comments but do want to note the draft notice lottery scenes - good for those too young to remember what that was like. If you love Russo, read his The Straightman - superb!

ArapahoeAnnaL Jan 10, 2020

Life journeys through the passion of youth, acceptance of older middle age, and possibilities for going on.

The scene with four friends drunkenly linking arms under a seaside moon and crooning joyfully could only happen in the exuberance of youth. What does life look like for long-time friends at age 66?

m
McAnnieG
Dec 06, 2019

Well written novel whose main characters are three men, each dwell on their lost love of the same woman they hung out with in college.

Now 66, Lincoln. Teddy and Mickey gather for a final weekend at Lincoln.s cottage in Cape Cod. What happened to Jacy/ Where is she? Is she even still alive? How did the Viet Nam war draft outcome affect their lives?

Very different from female based main characters who would deal with a similar situation.

ACL_ChrisS Nov 19, 2019

The parts about the main characters' early lives are enjoyable and the writing is excellent. However, I feel the ending is rushed. Also don't read this book if you are looking for a balance of male and female characters.

b
bronteside
Sep 27, 2019

This is a story of three fairly decent men and the ghost they can’t stop
Loving.
Richard Russo’s well-crafted novel is a story of boomer success and
Individual failing...tucked behind a mystery of the woman’s whereabouts.
The importance is not in finding her, but in how they pivot adolescent
Disappointment into an emotional space of adult acceptance.

c
CL_kcls
Sep 25, 2019

I was fascinated but mildly disappointed in 'Chances Are...', however that will NOT prevent my eager hope and expectation of and for whatever Richard Russo writes next. He's in my top 5 of favorite authors.

It was difficult for me to see where 'Chances Are...' was going. However the character development is fascinating. That they did not recognize their own growth nor each others (and, sometimes, their lack of it), and their limited understanding of it, is compelling.

"Was this what we wanted from our oldest friends? Reassurance that the world we remember so fondly still exists? That it hasn't been replaced by a reality we're less fully committed to?"

It takes this reunion weekend and a haunting mystery of their youth to allow them to examine themselves, their relationships - especially with their parents, their fathers in particular, how they got where they are and how they will go forward with this knowledge.

"How many times as a boy had he asked his parents for help only to have them snatch the paper or pen out of his hand and just do whatever it was that he needed help with, as if his presence in their lives and incessant demands on their lives were just too exhausting for words. Clearly, he wasn't worth their effort. If he had been, they'd have gladly spent time with him."

I sincerely hope that quote, nor any of the characters family histories did not come from the author's experience.

4.5 stars

smc_1 Sep 23, 2019

Fabulous writing, well-developed, complex characters, compelling plot! You can never go wrong with Richard Russo.

m
msmari50
Sep 17, 2019

A bit slow in the beginning. The characters are very well developed. I enjoyed this book.

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