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Chances Are...

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  10,471 ratings  ·  1,528 reviews
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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Maria Wroblewski I understood that he was her true choice; however, it could not be because he was impotent. So, he feels he had a love. It's all so silly. no more…moreI understood that he was her true choice; however, it could not be because he was impotent. So, he feels he had a love. It's all so silly. no more Russo books for me !!!!

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Angela M
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cant remember encountering a Richard Russo character who doesnt seem real, as someone I could know or as someone with flaws who reminds me that all of us are flawed or that all of us are vulnerable in one way or another. Having read all of his novels and most of his shorter fiction, I have come to expect this connection that he allows us to make with his characters. He did not disappoint in his latest novel.

Three sixty- six year old men, college friends from the 60s meet 44 years later on
Jim Fonseca
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A different kind of book from Russo. I like his novels, I think because they are usually about towns where most of the population lives on the other side of the tracks and it reminds me of my own early life in a depressed New England mill town (New Bedford MA). Usually he focuses on those who stay and those who leave.


This novel, Chances Are, still focuses on class the three main characters are poor enough to be scholarship boys at an elite Connecticut college and they work in the cafeteria for
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

4 1/2 rounded down to a 4.

Oh my goodness this book takes me back! My husband, who was then my boyfriend, and I also sat in front of a TV in 1969 when the draft lottery was televised. He had a college deferment and fortunately his number was high, but the anxiety of that particular time was off the charts high. Imagine your future decided by the random calling out of a number, whether you were able to continue on the path you were leading or got sent to Vietnam. None of my
Elyse  Walters
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Who in their f#cking world would listen to Cat Stevens?

This novel exasperated the heck out of me.....with lengthy inconsequential long winded loquacious ramblings!!!

I enjoyed meeting Richard Russo at a book reading.
Ive always been certain that I would love Russos storytelling - but there is too much uninteresting ramblings in this book.
Ill read Empire Falls sometime -
but this being my first impression of the established American author leaves me disappointed.

I found this
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Friends from college and now sixty-six years old, three men reunite at a house on Marthas Vineyard owned by one of them. During their Vietnam era college years, all of them were in love with the same privileged, rebellious girl who rounded out their friendly foursome. What is the possibility or chance that she was in love with one of them? From the vantage point of age each man considers his life as it exists today and as it was as a college student. One plays it safe, one plays it fast and ...more
Will Byrnes
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When the truth is found
to be lies
And all the joy
within you dies

Don't you want somebody to love
Don't you need somebody to love
Wouldn't you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love, love
- Jefferson Airplane
Lincoln, his eyes suddenly full, reached forward and touched Jacys face on the microfilm machine. Hey, Jace. Guess what? Were all here. Teddy. Mick. Me. On the island. Remember the Chilmark house? Our last night together on the deck?
Over forty years have passed since these three men met during the sixties in college, and now that theyve reached their sixties, theyve gathered together on Marthas Vineyard for the weekend. As we hear their stories, and know what secrets they are holding, keeping them to themselves, there is another story that slowly starts to be unveiled, as well.

Revisiting the early years of the war in Vietnam, they reflect back on the night of the first draft lottery, sitting around a tiny black and white
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: public-library
Think of the way you looked at things in 1969, and how you see them now, 50 years later.  Any differences?  Reflect on what you can afford to lose in life, about proximate cause versus remote causes.  What part does luck play in the scenario?  There is a buried truth here that will be uncovered, based on a lie that was never actually uttered.     

This author draws a bead on his characters and it is faultless.  Wry observations on the aging process may have you nodding or smiling ruefully.  I am
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three sixty-six year old men, friends since college in the 60s.. meet up on Marthas Vineyard for a weekend.. these are three very different type of men, then and now, and they all were secretly in love with a girl from their college days who completed their foursome All for one, one for all.
As the men come together on the island they are all still puzzling over an occurrence that happened here on Memorial weekend 1971 and as the story unfolds we find out all about their lives, their families,
Ron Charles
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: guys-wandering
Richard Russos new novel, Chances Are . . ., opens with a cascade of charm. Three old friends, all 66 years old, arrive at Marthas Vineyard for a last hurrah. Russo introduces them one at a time, setting each man in a nest of youthful anecdotes that have been polished to a high luster. But if this is a story steeped in nostalgia, its also a story about the inevitable disruption of nostalgia.

Russo, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2001 novel, Empire Falls, has become our senior correspondent on
Jonathan K
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of friendship, redemption and forgiveness, Russo has brought forth another masterpiece. Quoting from the last chapter, "... What made the contest between fate and free will so lopsided was that human beings invariably mistook one for another hurling themselves furiously against that which is fixed and immutable while ignoring the very things over which they actually had some control... "

Profound, heart warming and often humorous this is a well written story filled with insights
Andy Marr
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
As a huge fan of Russo - and particularly 'Straight Man' and 'Nobody's Fool' - I expected great things from this book, but I was sorely disappointed. Of the six Russo books I've read, this was easily the weakest. The plot was dull, the philosophy was clichéd, and the characters, though well enough drawn, were desperately stereotyped.
Chances Are... awfully good that if Richard Russo writes it, I'm going to love it. 4.5 rounded up.

A deep and thoughtful story of enduring love and friendship by one of my favorite authors, that takes us back to the early 70s... the music, the pot smoking, the draft.

Three college friends get together on Martha's Vineyard 40 years after they had gone their separate ways, for a final fling at Lincoln's summer house as he ponders selling it. At 66, Lincoln is happily married; Teddy is a book
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know when I pick up a Russo novel that I am going to become deeply involved with the characters. And that certainly happened with Chances Are... This is a novel about three men and their friendships. There is a plot and a twist but the focus of the novel is Lincoln, Teddy and Mickey and that was just fine with me. They felt real to me and I cared about them. I enjoyed every page!
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Astute, insightful, and deeply moving novel. I love Richard Russo's work, and CHANCES ARE captured the wistfulness of aging and regret, and how little we really understand even our closest friends.
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars

This author is a man who puts together a puzzle with each book he writes. He gives you the border pieces in a rich story foundation. Then once you have that basis put together he fills in the picture with vividly colored characters and a well interconnected plot. This book was no exception.

Three young men - all from middle class to economically stressed families - meet at college. They take on a fourth 'Musketeer' - a rich girl. All three boys are in love with her. Once they graduate
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
So conflicted about this book. I loved Richard Russo's work through Empire Falls or so, and then it just seemed like he was hitting the same beats over and over. And this book is definitely standard-issue Russo with his extremely specific checklist -- working-class middle-aged guy with daddy issues (check!); deceased mother who was a goddamned saint (check!) who also had a seaside getaway that was the only place that brought her joy (check! Martha's Vineyard this time); a smart but exasperated ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it

Anytime Richard Russo comes out with a new book, its a cause for celebration. I cant think of another writer today who has so adroitly captured our deteriorating east coast small town communities and the has-beens, neer-do-wells, and wannabes who inhabit them. Works such as The Risk Pool, Nobodys Fool and Empire Falls, for example, position him as the preeminent chronicler of the down-on-their-luck manufacturing towns of America.

Chances Areis a quintessentially Russo sort of book. Its not quite
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
How young theyd all been. How foolish. What would Jacy think if she could see them now? Lincoln wondered. Three goddamn old men.

The three musketeers have a reunion not after twenty years, but after four decades and some. Lincoln, Teddy and Mickey, three young men from lower middle-class backgrounds have the chance to attend an exclusive college on the East Coast. They study humanities / art, they make ends meet by serving as hashers (kitchen aids) for a posh sorority house, they are full of
Martie Nees Record
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genre: Literary Mystery
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Publication Date: July 30, 2019

The new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo is about the complexities of male friendship. This is not a new theme for the author. Here written with his trademark humor, Russo introduces us to three male Vietnam-era college friends who are now in their mid-sixties. They are having a weekend reunion together on Martha's Vineyard. Think Springsteen's "Glory Days." It was there that they had a
Jessica Woodbury
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
While I was reading this book I was reminded of how much I like Richard Russo. He is such a wise and empathetic writer. He writes mostly about men but he also does that with an understanding that men are often foolish. I enjoyed my time reading this book even though it is a kind of plot I really do not enjoy because it was still nice to get some time with Russo.

This is right up the middle for Russo, not one of his lighter comedies or one of his heavy downers, it's a kind of a mystery built
J.K. Grice
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
While I love Richard Russo and his writing, this is probably my least favorite novel of his so far. However, that is not to say that I have any regrets about reading CHANCES ARE. Some of the characters here are well fleshed out, but I felt others were rather flat. The main component that held my interest was Jacy's disappearance in 1971, after three days spent with college friends Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey. The three men return to Martha's Vineyard in 2016, to mark that fateful Memorial Day ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Cliche, cringy and predictable. I still dont understand why these guys were so obsessed with a girl whose personality we never got to know and it wasnt because she was mysterious. What you think will happen, does happen every step of the way. And of course the cliche characters.:. The macho man, the weenie and the thinker. In real life, these three would never have been friends let alone all for one and one for all. Then lets throw in political views which were clearly the authors. Give me a ...more
Jo Marie
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe 2 1/2 stars, but really disappointing by an author whose books Ive enjoyed so much. A good part of this book seemed like a plodding prologue and in the last 50 pages were finally told the whole story. Theres some good stuff in here but surprisingly a lot of dull writing also. ...more
Kristi Lamont
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Et tu, Richard Russo?

Older white male of a certain socio-economic class navel-gazing. A mostly flat, fairly joyless book with none of the wit and intelligence fans of previous works enjoyed with those. Predictable plot, mostly stereotypical characters.

I kinda feel like I'm out here saying the emperor has no clothes. But, for real, it's like, "I guess I'd better grind one more book out to prove I'm still alive and because, well, hey, printing actual money is illegal and this is a fairly easy way
switterbug (Betsey)
Hop on a Russo book if you want characters with character. The men and women are woeful, rueful, and belly fulla angsty wit. Moreover, they brim with shadows, blind spots, ghosts, darkness and light. CHANCES ARE doesnt disappoint with his cast of characters, who could walk off the pages and into your lives. Theres stifled passion and mournful regret all tucked inside their bones. Its a book about the chances you take, the choices you make, and the secrets that eat at your heart and the atonement ...more
Anne Bogel
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rounding up from 3.5 stars.

I'm a relatively new Russo reader, having only read Empire Falls and The Destiny Thief in the past few years. His newest is a story of male friendship, family tragedy, and how the past is never really past.

I thought this was pretty goodbut definitely didn't LOVE it. (Though it's worth noting that my husband adored this book, calling it one of his favorite this year.)

It's a short novel, in which three college friends come back together for the first time in years,
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Chances Are . . . was the latest novel by Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Russo, one of my favorite writers. Each time I read one of Russo's books, I find myself just settling in and enjoying the experience, not only for the sharp dialogue among the characters but also their internal dialogue fueled with humor and pathos. This beautiful novel is all about the meaning of enduring friendship over the years. These three men, now sixty-six years old, first met in college in the late sixties ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chances are we aren't the people we once thought we were, or are we? Chances are we really never knew our friends as well as we thought, and chances are we kept (and still keep) secrets from them. Chances are memories of our youth are fuzzy at best.

At the age of 66 these three friends from college, Mickey, Teddy, and Lincoln, return to Martha's Vineyard for a reunion. Also present, but not present, is their friend and secret love, Jacy. The landscape, the moon on the water, the quaint cottage
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it

A solid but not great exploration of male friendship. Looking at three friends decades after meeting, Russo explores a sad mystery that has shaped their lives since the end of college. The story has a moments of profound introspection but at the same time I found the writing less than exciting. My first Russo, probably not the best starting point but I'll be back.
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RICHARD RUSSO is the author of seven previous novels; two collections of stories; and Elsewhere, a memoir. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which like Nobodys Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries. ...more

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