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Chances Are . . .: A novel

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  7,233 ratings  ·  1,155 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
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Knopf
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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  ·  review of another edition
I can’t remember encountering a Richard Russo character who doesn’t 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 60’s meet 44 years later on
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
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friends from college and now sixty-six years old, three men reunite at a house on Martha’s 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
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
“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.
I’ve always been ‘certain’ that I would love Russo’s storytelling - but there is too much uninteresting ramblings in this book.
I’ll read “Empire Falls” sometime -
but this being my first impression of the established American author — leaves me disappointed.

I found
Jim Fonseca
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Will Byrnes
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 Jacy’s face on the microfilm machine. Hey, Jace. Guess what? We’re all here. Teddy. Mick. Me. On the island. Remember the Chilmark house? Our last night together on the
Over forty years have passed since these three men met during the sixties in college, and now that they’ve reached their sixties, they’ve gathered together on Martha’s 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  ·  review of another edition
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 genuinely
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three sixty-six year old men, friends since college in the 60’s.. meet up on Martha’s 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
Jonathan K
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ron Charles
Richard Russo’s new novel, “Chances Are ...,” opens with a cascade of charm. Three old friends, all 66 years old, arrive at Martha’s 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, it’s 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
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  ·  review of another edition
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!
♥ 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
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Anytime Richard Russo comes out with a new book, it’s a cause for celebration. I can’t think of another writer today who has so adroitly captured our deteriorating east coast small town communities and the has-beens, ne’er-do-wells, and wannabes who inhabit them. Works such as The Risk Pool, Nobody’s Fool and Empire Falls, for example, position him as the preeminent chronicler of the down-on-their-luck manufacturing towns of America.

Chances Are…is a quintessentially Russo sort of book. It’s not
Martie Nees Record
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
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Woodbury
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jo Marie
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe 2 1/2 stars, but really disappointing by an author whose books I’ve enjoyed so much. A good part of this book seemed like a plodding prologue and in the last 50 pages we’re finally told the whole story. There’s some good stuff in here but surprisingly a lot of dull writing also.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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… doesn’t disappoint with his cast of characters, who could walk off the pages and into your lives. There’s stifled passion and mournful regret all tucked inside their bones. It’s a book about the chances you take, the choices you make, and the secrets that eat at your heart and the ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristi Lamont
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
Anne Bogel
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 good—but 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,
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cliche, cringy and predictable. I still don’t understand why these guys were so obsessed with a girl whose personality we never got to know and it wasn’t 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 let’s throw in political views which were clearly the authors’. Give ...more
Mary Lins
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m on record that Richard Russo is one of my very favorite authors, so I was thrilled to get my hands on “Chances Are…” his latest novel. Predictably, I fell in love with his characters, enjoyed his inimitable wit, and didn’t want the ride to end (and I cast the movie in my mind!)

Three men, all 66 years old; Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey – former college buddies – get together on Martha’s Vineyard in 2015, 44 years after they spent a pivotal, and possibly fatal, weekend there in 1971.

Russo deftly
Bonnie Brody
Richard Russo is one of those writers who really knows how to write about men. Like Stegner and Hemingway, the testosterone flows through his narrative as though it is organic. The male characters don't have to talk that much about themselves; just their conversations and dialogue convince the reader that we are entering male territory.

The story takes place on Martha's Vineyard where Lincoln has a home. Lincoln, Micky, and Teddy, now 66 years old, meet in 2015 for a reunion. The three met while
Greg Zimmerman
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First appeared at https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...

Richard Russo is back! Woohoo! Chances Are... is his first stand-alone novel in 10 years, after the sequel Everybody's Fool in 2016, a short story collection, and some essays. The new novel is something wholly unique for Russo — a literary mystery! But it's also unmistakably him. His warm, inviting, dad-humor style is on full display here, even as he's building suspense.

The story is about three lifelong friends — Lincoln, Teddy, and
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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 Nobody’s Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.
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