Cover Image: Chances Are . . .

Chances Are . . .

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vintage Richard Russo, tho not set in Maine.. Will appeal to all of his many fans. His characters are believable and relatable.
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Chances Are, by Richard Russo, is one of those great summer reads for Boomers: set on an island, with reminiscences galore, back to the late 60s-early 70s, with references to Vietnam, college adventures and relationships, and then the counterpoint of the kind of wistfulness that people in their mid-sixties get when they look back at their younger, less cynical selves.

Back in their college days, there were the Four Musketeers: three very different guys and Jacy, the girl they all loved in their own ways. They spend a last Memorial Day weekend on Martha’s Vineyard prior to scattering to their various new lives right after college graduation…and then Jacy disappears. The story is set as the three guys gather for a kind of reunion, back on the island, and their various lives are contrasted as they look back and examine their current situations. 

The characters of the three guys are EXTREMELY well drawn, and the mystery surrounding Jacy’s disappearance is intriguing as the story unfolds. I didn’t guess the resolution, but that’s no big deal, because I pretty much NEVER see “it” coming (whatever “it” happens to be!)

Loved the setting, loved the characterizations, loved the story. Five stars.
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This was another gripping book by Richard Russo. He NEVER disappoints. His attention to detail and how he develops his characters is second to none. HIGHLY recommend!
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Three very old friends, or I should probably say four. They're all grown up and have made it through the Viet Nam war. Life has continued for all of them but they keep returning to the past and one common thread. Russo's writing always captures the humanity of what it means to be alive.
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Three sixty-six year old guys who were best friends in college gather on Martha's Vineyard for a reunion.  The fourth best friend was a girl named Jacy, whom they were each in love with in college, but she disappeared after their island weekend over Memorial Day right after they graduated.  Her mysterious disappearance has haunted each of the men, as well as some of the islanders, in different ways, and they find that they are still looking for her--or at least an explanation--in the present.  The strength of this novel, which is actually a mystery, is in the well-drawn characters and the setting.  Each of the three men is complicated in unique ways, and their relationships reflect their backgrounds and personalities.  The island setting is well-suited for their two gatherings, one of hopeful youth during the Vietnam conflict and one of wiser, more cynical adults during a vague present.  With Johnny Mathis's song in the background, chances are awfully good that we'll remember these characters.
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As usual, i don't really know what to say about Richard Russo.  On the one hand, he is a great writer and has a real gift with characters.  But he doesn't seem to know how to finish a book in a satisfying way (except for Empire Falls).  The first half of this book was great, the second half seemed way too contrived.  And he really isn't good at writing female characters.

But, he is a terrific and important writer.
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Three friends from college, now in their 60s and successful in their careers, reunite at the coastal house where they spent a week after college graduation. They've kept in touch (sort of), but none of them have spoken about the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the fourth member of their party -- the girl they all loved. 

I have really enjoyed Richard Russo's books in the past. He creates remarkable, fully formed characters with problems that are infinitely understandable and personal. He creates settings that are easily imagined and make you wish you were living next door or down the street from his characters. This book is a perfect example.

Perhaps I related to these characters because I share their age and a similar past. Passages about watching the Draft lottery for the Viet Nam war brought back memories and feelings long buried. Although this is not historical fiction, the flashbacks are so real and true that the book could easily pass as such. The alternating chapters, told from the perspective of each of the friends and moving back & forth through time seamlessly, tell the story of what happened to the missing girl and fills in the blanks of how her friendship impacted each of the other three. 

I really loved this book. I was totally immersed in the story from start to finish. Russo is a masterful story teller and this may be one of his best.
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Russo is a wonderful writer and this new standalone book is no exception.  Lincoln, Teddy, and Mick were tight in college 40 years ago, having met at their necessary jobs as food workers in a sorority house.  Although their lives have taken separate pathways they get together every decade or so, this time with the excuse that Lincoln is about to sell his mother's old home, a place the old friends visited when in school.  We get to know them pretty well, some more than others, and we struggle with them to figure out what happened to the privileged girl with whom they were all in love, who disappeared after their graduation celebration at the house.  The book works much better as a portrait of these three now-aging men and of the personal factors and societal forces that shaped their lives than it does as a mystery, even though their former lover's disappearance is a major focal point of the story.  A set of clues is obvious to the observant reader as are the red herrings.  Russo sets the context of the young college-educated people of the era - the Vietnam War, the draft lottery, the drugs, the music - fairly well; it resonated with this reader who is of the same generation as our main characters.  He also pays a little lip service to today's society.  The book seems rushed at the end, however, and many of the secondary characters are more stereotypical than real.  Despite these flaws, Chances Are... is well worth reading.
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The friendships young men form in college seldom endure as long as the ones Russo explores in CHANCES ARE. Especially when they all love the same girl.
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I believe that Richard Russo is one of our finest living authors, and “Chances Are...” doesn’t disappoint. I think his books are the opposite of chick-lit, exhibiting a depth of understanding of male relationships and bro-hood. 

Here 3 college pals, now post- middle aged return to Martha’s Vineyard to renew their friendship, relive the tumultuous years of the Vietnam draft and try to understand why the woman they all loved seemed to have disappeared. 

With great skill, the reader is transported into their backstories and understand where they are today. The dialogue is fascinating, especially that which is disgorged by an ancillary character, Joe Coffin. 

I am a female fan and I love this book, as I have enjoyed all Russo’s previous novels. Good writing is without gender and this book certainly fits the bill. 

Thank you Netgalley for this awesome read.
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This is a wonderful novel about men's friendships and their separate lives over a forty year span. The descriptions of then and now are spot on. The characters are fully developed and a mystery ensues about a woman who impacted their young lives. A very satisfying read.
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Masterful!  Chances are, you're going to enjoy this!  Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors.  He weaves a tight story with fully developed characters, richly described places and totally believable tales, resulting in a very satisfying read.

This is a story of three sixty-six year old college chums who reunite for a weekend in the same house they all visited right after their graduation.  In college, they had been a tight group, The Four Musketeers, with one missing, Jacy, since their last reunion.  Narrated by two, eventually by the third as well, we come to know what happened to all of them, including the fourth friend, Jacy.  This is my age group and I can relate wholly to these characters, the times, and their concerns about Vietnam.

I loved this book!  But in fairness, I love all of Richard Russo's books.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.  
#ChancesAre #NetGalley
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