Cover Image: Chances Are . . .

Chances Are . . .

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.  I love Russo's early work, but like many of his later efforts, I just though this one was okay.  It was an enjoyable read, but not especially memorable, unlike Empire Falls or Straight Man.
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A novel of three college friends and the woman they all loved in different ways. While kindly enough, I thought the book lost some of its focus in the second half as Jaycee's story took over. It felt as if the story was leading the author, rather than the other way around.
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Net Galley.   

I read this book -- drawn to the author and the setting -- and at the end thought there really wasn't much there. I didn't care about the characters and thought the overriding mystery/conflict wan't very compelling. I thought, maybe this book isn't for me. So I gave it to my husband to read -- thinking he's a guy and closer in age to these characters, maybe it will click with him. 

Same response. A disappointment after reading so many good books from this author.
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Another great book by Russo!    The story line in this book is a bit different from his previous work but never does he disappoint.  His writing is always superb and so natural that you feel immediately caught up in the plot from the start.  
The plot centers around a reunion of 3 close college men and the close relationship they all cherished with a female college student that they all loved.  She disappeared and they come back together to reevaluate their lives.  The backdrop of the Vietnam War and the turmoil it caused among those who were drafted to fight will ring true for those who experienced it in the 60's.
The suspense kept building and building and the ending quite unexpected but so well done.
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Straight up realistic fiction is not usually my preferred genre, and I have never read any of Richard Russo’s work. But with “ Chances Are” he does not disappoint.. The story of three men, a vacation house, their shared history with a free spirited young woman is well written, suspenseful, and unexpected.
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Three college friends, now in their sixties, reunite at Martha's Vineyard for one last hurrah before Lincoln sells the family cottage they had all visited just before college graduation.  All three men are haunted by the memory and disappearance of Jacy, who seemed to vanish after that college weekend on the island.
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While I like the work of Richard Russo, I think this book could be confused with quite a few other titles out there that are a touch better than the ordinary fare - characters who meet following an extended period of separation and reminisce about a shared past life.  Yes, it was intriguing and yes it involved lots of plot changes.  But it could be confused with a great deal of like-minded literature out there.  I would recommend it for Library Reads because I feel it would resonate with those who could see themselves not in this particular scenario, but with the lasting friendships made during college and how everyone is changed by life circumstances and distance during the intervening years.   As for me, I think he could have done better.
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This is Russo's best effort in a long time.  Although he continues to explore the same geographical areas (with boomers, yet again), he does something new here in venturing into mystery writing.  Not a perfect novel, but strong.
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“Chances Are” is likely to resonate with those ‘of a certain age;’ e.g. those of us who grew up in the 1960s. We’re familiar with the Vietnam War, the reactions of young men to the draft, and even the music. In fact, the apt title is a link to all of those plus the mystery that the story finally solves. Many books are written about women’s friendships but this is a novel about men’s friendships. Russo is a wonderful writer and he writes an engaging tale. Three college buddies are reunited once again on Martha's Vineyard after several decades apart. And they once again confront the mystery of what happened to Jacy, the woman all of them loved. Russo writes masterfully in giving us insight to those three very different men: who they are and who they were, and how we all keep secrets -- even from ourselves. The mystery of Jacy provides the common core to the exploration of the lives of the three friends. The character development is great; the resolution of the mystery is a little confusing and a little contrived but overall it's a very good read.
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This novel will particularly resonate with the Vietnam generation. It's the story of three men in their mid-60s, college friends, who meet for a sort of reunion at a New England beach house. The fourth main character, who is not present but is a strong presence, is the free-spirited Jacy who they all were entranced by, and who mysteriously disappeared on their last college weekend together in the same place forty some years ago.

I really liked this book -- Russo writes so well. Yes, it's a flawed novel: a few eyebrow-raising plot chestnuts and female characters who are not anywhere near as real as their male counterparts. But this is mainly the story of the three men and they are wonderfully drawn and depicted. Their conversations and interior monologues feel genuine and pull you along. And it is a great depiction of their era, the early 70s and the power and confusion and excitement of that time. There is sometimes a small bit of Big Chill vibe here, the wryness of what we all thought would become of us versus the true history.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The author displayed excellent character development which formed the basis for how the story ended. He wove interesting historical details into the plot especially relatable for someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. That being said, the first half of the book took too long to establish the characters. #chancesare #netgalley
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Chances Are was an intriguing, thought-provoking, atmospheric story about friendship, aging, and the people and events in your life that are the most meaningful. The main characters here were so well-crafted. Their back stories were interesting and illustrative, really presenting the full picture of who each of them was at 18, and how each of those 18-year-olds became who they are at 66. This is especially true for Lincoln and Teddy, since their perspective represented the bulk of the narration, but it was also the case for Mickey and Jacy as well. This may be a personal preference, but I loved the setting on Martha's Vineyard. I love the Cape area, and reading Russo's descriptions of it through the eyes of people who are both residents and tourists. I could smell the salt air and feel the ocean breezes. The mystery of Jacy was quietly compelling. It wasn't hard to imagine the accurate course of events, but the agonizing loss and confusion still felt by Lincoln and Teddy kept me guessing. Though the end of the mystery was not a crazy plot twist, I still felt satisfied by the result. The only component of the plot I was unsure about was the involvement of the retired detective in the later half of the book. It created an uptick in suspense for sure, but that was the only point that I felt that the tone shifted in the direction of a more traditional detective mystery. I enjoy that kind of story too, but in this book, that piece felt a bit incongruous. I will definitely recommend this book to adult readers I know and I may even find myself suggesting it to mature teens that I work with. It was a great summer read without being a beach read.
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Richard Russo's new novel is a rumination on friendship, life choices, and fate. Three friends, now in their mid-60s, have a get-together to plumb the past, take stock, and to deal with the unresolved disappearance of the woman they were all in love with more than four decades ago. The characters are well-limned, though the resolution of the mystery seems a tad pat. But Russo's a pro, and his  coming-of-age/came-of-age tale is worth your time.
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What a pleasure reading such a wonderfully written book with authentically flawed characters all muddling through and searching for meaning in life. Richard Russo is a master
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Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo's first novel in ten years.  The writing in this book is an example of his genius.  It is the story of three men who were best friends and the girl they all loved.  Lincoln, real estate broker who owns a house on Martha's Vineyard, Teddy, small time publisher and Mickey, aging musician.  The story starts in 1971 and moves between then and now.  These three men meet at Lincoln's house one last time as he decides whether to sell it or not.  They hash over old times all of them wondering what happened to their friend Jacy.  A mystery ensues and Richard Russo's writing never disappoints.
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A fine summer read, compelling story. The mystery at the heart of it pulls you along. That being said though, the women in the story have absolutely no depth to them and mostly exist in the background and as plot devices.
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Three college best friends reunite in Martha's Vineyard--the last place they had seen their friend, Jacy, the woman they were all in love with. She had disappeared 44 years earlier--and of course she and what happened to her becomes the main topic of the book. Amusing with some unexpected twists.
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I appreciated how real the characters were and liked the nod to current events. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into the story and gave up halfway through reading it. I really wanted to like the book, but kept putting it down and not wanting to pick it back up again. I think this is a great book for those who like in depth character study novels and not for those who prefer plot-driven novels. There just wasn't enough happening to keep me engaged.
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It's probably not fair to judge Richard Russo's new novel Chances are... (available July 30) against my own high expectations for Russo's work. Russo's novels are a masterclass in constructing layered narratives that deepen our understanding of character and situation. That layered narrative structure also results in beautifully crafted stories that loop back together by the end in ways that you can't imagine until you get there. Empire Falls is the best example, but Nobody's Fool, Straight Man, Everybody's Fool, and That Old Cape Magic all succeed as narratives that draw you in through humor, fully drawn characters, and masterfully constructed narratives.

Because of that, I was surprised that Chances Are... took an unusually long time for me to warm up to. We learn a lot about the characters in the first fifty pages or so, but I didn't really care about them or the situation they found themselves in. Jacy, a woman who was the love interest of all three of the main characters and has disappeared, definitely didn't seem compelling enough for the narrative to focus on. If I didn't have faith that Russo would pull it off, I might not have kept reading.

But he did. Perhaps not as brilliantly as in some of his other novels, but, about half-way in, the mystery of Jacy's disappearance gains momentum, primarily through a retired cop who deepens the suspense around what happened to her. By the end, I was absorbed in the story - if not in Jacy as a character. It feels as though Russo piles on extra helpings of tragedy in her life as a short cut to character development, which isn't entirely satisfying. On the other hand, the resolution of the narrative is satisfying.

On the whole, I don't think this is one of his best novels, but I did find myself swept up in the last half of the story.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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Disclaimer: I will read and usually will love anything by Richard Russo. He writes characters who are so real, you would swear you've known them for years. Chances Are...takes place over Memorial Day weekend in 2015. Three college friends, now men in their mid-sixties, get together at one of their homes in Martha's Vineyard. MIssing from the gathering is the fourth Musketeer, Jacy, who disappeared in 1971 after a they spent a week there after college graduation. She was the unlikely part of their group, a wealthy sorority girl while they're the guys who wash dishes in her house. Lincoln, Mickey, and Teddie have kept in sporadic touch since Jacy went missing, but haven't seen each other in years. Back on the cape. they're reliving the feelings they had about the Vietnam War and the draft and Jacy. Did she run away from her unhappy engagement or did somebody kill her? And did they really know her at all?

This was totally engrossing, but not quite my favorite from Russo. There is some stiff competition, though!
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