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Chances Are . . .: A novel by Richard Russo

Chances Are . . .: A novel (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Richard Russo (Author)

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2922660,148 (4.01)13
"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 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. Now, forty-four years later, as this new weekend unfolds, three lives and that of a significant other 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"--… (more)
Title:Chances Are . . .: A novel
Authors:Richard Russo (Author)
Info:Knopf (2019), Edition: 1st Edition, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read in 2019

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Chances Are . . .: A novel by Richard Russo (2019)



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Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey were fast friends during their college days in the 1960s. Now in their mid-60s, life has taken each of them in very different directions. As Lincoln prepares to sell a family vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard, he invites the men to join him for a long weekend “reunion.” Notably absent is Jacy, a woman every one of them was infatuated with in college, who disappeared without a trace after a similar weekend at the Cape shortly after graduation.

Each man comes to Martha's Vineyard with baggage. The most significant moment of their young lives was December 1, 1969: the night the Vietnam draft lottery was broadcast on national television. Mickey, with the lowest number, ultimately went to Canada to avoid military service; Teddy spent his life in academia but never found a clear sense of purpose; Lincoln was never at risk of going to Vietnam but is haunted by his father’s dogmatic presence and a sense of failure despite all outward appearances. The novel explores the turns their lives took after the lottery and the men they have become, while also slowly revealing Jacy’s story.

I most enjoyed the character studies in this novel, as well as Russo’s references to modern politics (the weekend reunion takes place in 2015). The mystery of Jacy’s disappearance was sometimes too dominant, and its resolution a little too pat but then this is supposed to be a novel about male friendships, not a “whodunnit.” It’s not a bad book, but it’s not Russo’s best either. ( )
  lauralkeet | Oct 21, 2019 |
(8.5)I thoroughly enjoyed this latest novel from Richard Russo. Perhaps, it is the fact, that the protagonists in the story are close in age to myself.
Lincoln, Teddy and Mickey were at college together and have decided on a reunion at a family cottage on Martha's Vineyard. They have maintained loose contact over the years but this is the first time they have all been back to the cottage since 1971. In 1971 there was another friend Jacy.She was considered a little bit wild and had the confidence that came from a financially comfortable background, different to the men, who were all scholarship students. However Jacy disappeared after leaving there in 1971 and her companions all revisit their memories of that time in an effort to resolve what happened to her. But does one of them know?
I read this over a weekend and found it quite the page-turner and immensely satisfying. The characters were all well-drawn and wrestled with their own demons. ( )
  HelenBaker | Oct 13, 2019 |
Lincoln, Teddy, and Mickey meet for a reunion of sorts at the Martha's Vineyard cottage where forty-four years earlier they spent the Memorial Day weekend after their college graduation. Lincoln is happily married with six children, Teddy has stayed alone, and Mickey is still a wild man, playing with his band after returning from Canada where he went when his draft number was low during the Viet Nam war. On that weekend long ago, there was a fourth person, Jacy, a young woman who was friends with them all and who disappeared after the weekend was over. Her disappearance has always been a mystery.
The story is mostly told through Lincoln and Teddy's POVs with lots of flashbacks to their youth, both before college and then their college years where they all met as the scholarship students at an elite New England college. Being about the same age, I found it a trip down memory lane as Mr. Russo details the draft lottery, college parties, and other experiences. He does a great job in describing how those experiences built the men they are today. They were all in love with Jacy, and their reunion brings many of those memories back. Yet they address her disappearance in different ways.
It's lovely writing and a thoroughly enjoyable story about growing older and becoming comfortable with oneself. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Oct 11, 2019 |
"We let people keep their secrets but then convince ourselves we know them anyway. Take Jacy. We all were in love with her,, but what did we really know about her? I'd never met anybody like her before, so I had no frame of reference. And if you think about it, she was in the same boat. We must've been as mysterious to her as she was to us." (171)

Three guys and a girl become fast friends during their time at a private eastern college in the early 1970's set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Jacy is the rich girl and Lincoln, Mickey, and Teddy all end up in an exclusive private school with her, but Jacy Has never wanted for anything and they are from different backgrounds and on scholarships. In fact, they earn their spending money by serving meals at Jacy's sorority house. Russo does an amazing job with male characters. He examines their backgrounds and motives in detail. Female characters are another story. In this case it doesn't matter because Jacy is a mystery character, an enigma that charms her friends and then suddenly disappears.

Forty years after college graduation, the three male friends have a reunion on Martha's Vineyard. Of course, Jacy's disappearance comes up. Russo is a gifted storyteller. While this is not his best work, it is a page-turner. Teddy makes an offhand remark early in the book saying Memory Lane is vastly overrated. I disagree. I'll walk down that lane any day with Mr. Russo as my guide. He simply can't write a bad book. ( )
1 vote Donna828 | Oct 9, 2019 |
Martha's Vineyard is my happy place and I'm fortunate to be able to spend a few weeks there every year. So I love the opportunity to read any book set on the Vineyard, not to mention that reading Richard Russo is a treat.

Three men in their 60's reunite for a weekend on Martha's Vineyard. They met in college and became close friends, but over the years, they have each gone their own way and couldn't be leading more different lives. Lincoln is a real estate broker, Teddy is a university professor and small press publisher, and Mickey is a musician who continues to rock on in his sixties. But what binds them together is not only their college experience during the Vietnam era, but also a passion they all held for the same woman. As they reunite after decades apart, some deep secrets are revealed that could tear apart their fragile bonds.

This book was such a pleasure to read. Maybe it was because I could completely relate to the whole process of reflecting back on who we were during our college years and look at where life has taken us. The plot had a few twists and there were times when it almost felt like this was a mystery. Overall a quiet and reflective story told with humor and sadness. ( )
  jmoncton | Oct 6, 2019 |
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For a second there we won. 
Yeah, we were innocent and young.
"Miss Atomic Bomb," The Killers
For those whose names are on the wall
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The three old friends arrived on the island in reverse order, from farthest to nearest: Lincoln, a commercial real estate broker, practically cross-country from Las Vegas; Teddy, a small-press publisher, from Syracuse; Mickey, a musician and sound engineer, from nearby Cape Cod.
Because yank out one thread from the fabric of human destiny, and everything unravels. Though it could also be said that things have a tendency to unravel regardless.
The deeper and longer something remained buried, the more power it had when it finally rose to the surface.
What you can't afford to lose is precisely what the world robs you of. How it  knew what you needed the most , just so it could deny you that very thing, was a question for the philosophers.
"The thing to understand about your father... is that you always have a choice. You can do things his way, or you can wish you had."
What can't be true, isn't...no matter how much you want it to be.
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