Chances Are . . . by Richard Russo

Chances Are . . .

Richard Russo

Shot through with Russo’s trademark comedy and humanity, this absorbing saga follows how friendship’s bonds are every bit as constricting and rewarding as those of family or any other community.

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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls comes a new revelation: a riveting story about the abiding yet complex power of friendship.

One beautiful September day, three 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: the disappearance of the woman each of them loved--Jacy Rockafellow. Now, more than forty years later, as this new weekend unfolds, three lives 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.

Advance Galley Reviews

“Chances are...awfully good.” This Johnny Mathis standard seems to haunt a quartet of best friends. As their story progresses, we see for ourselves how good their chances at love and life are. Richard Russo tells the story of three young men attending an expensive, prestigious eastern college on scholarship who fall in love with a beautiful, wealthy and unorthodox coed. One last weekend on Martha’s Vineyard together as they graduate results in a life-altering experience for Lincoln, Teddy, Mickey and their beloved Jacy who walks away from them forever. Forty years later at a reunion on the island the three older men realize they are still haunted by what became of their love. Foolish judgements are made and good friends grow suspicious, realizing they do not know one another as they attempt to solve the mystery. One by one each re-evaluates himself and his relationship with family. The riddle is resolved amid grief and joy. There is much to learn about aging and growing wise in this novel. Highly recommendable.

Martha's Vineyard 2015 is the setting for a weekend reunion of 3 friends (Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey) who attended Minerva College in the early 1970's. This book is an emotional journey of their past/present and culminates in secret sharing involving the last time they were at this beach house with their gal pal, Jacy. A good beach read for all! Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

I hadn’t read a Richard Russo novel in a while, and I can’t remember now why I’ve been depriving myself. Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey all attended Minerva College in the late 60s-early 70s. While they came from different backgrounds and different parts of the country, they had a few things in common, other than their friendship—they worked in the kitchen of the Theta house and they were in love with Jacy. Now 66 years old, the three friends gather at Lincoln’s cottage on Cape Cod, just as they did in May 1971. The difference? Jacy isn’t with them. She disappeared after that fateful weekend, leaving her fiancé at the altar. All three men are still haunted by her disappearance, and Lincoln, in particular, is determined to solve the mystery. Told in alternating points of view, with flashbacks to their undergraduate days, CHANCES ARE... is full of wit, mystery, and some cutting social commentary. As distinct as the three men are, I was a little bit in love with all three.

Chances Are. . . is a story of three friends told from the point of view through most of the book of Lincoln and Teddy. These three men met each other in a small liberal arts college in Connecticut in the early seventies, and became close friends throughout their college years. They are now planning a reunion at Lincoln's summer home, after not having seen one another for many years. They are now 66 years old, which as the reader, I loved, since I am the same age. There are few books out there told from the point of view of older people, so I found the thoughts of the men really interesting, as they look back on their lives and the circumstances and issues that surrounded them. The philosophical musing about fate verses free will interested me in that this is something I personally have given some thought to recently. Richard Russo has written several books before this one, and they are well-reviewed. This is the first time I have read one of his books. It was very well-written, well conceived, and thoughtful. I liked the mystery aspect to it, as I like reading police procedurals and true crime books, which this was not. It is a sophisticated work of literary fiction. As I reached the last hundred pages of the book, I could not put it down. I found it gripping! It's always a pleasure to read a great book, and this was a great book!

Another great edition to Russo’s oeuvre. This one has his usual strong characterization and fluid prose but differs from some of his other words that I have read by including a bit of a mystery. Its readability and its Martha’s Vineyard setting make it a great book to bring on vacation.

Having never read Richard Russo before I wasn't quite sure what to expect but the words of a mystery from decades prior hooked me. Lincoln, Teddy & Mickey, college buddies, get together on Martha's Vineyard 40+ years from the last time they were all there together. The only person missing is Jacy, who they all loved in college, what happened to her? Loved the characters, the storyline, couldn't put it down! Thanks to First to Read for the advanced copy.


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