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Chances Are...

A Novel
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 60s. 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 Calloway. Now, more than 40 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 listener'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.

©2019 Richard Russo (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“No one understands men better than Russo, and no one is more eloquent in explaining how they think, suffer, and love. At a rough time for masculinity, Russo’s flawed but always decent characters are repositories of the classic virtues of their gender.... [Chances Are...] blends everything we love about this author with something new. Yes, this is a novel about male friendship, fathers and sons, small-town class issues, and lifelong crushes, and it provides the familiar pleasure of immersion in the author’s distinctive, richly observed world and his inimitable ironic voice. But this is also a mystery about a 1971 cold case.” (Kirkus, starred) 

“For his first stand-alone novel in 10 years, Russo has written a bewitching tale of male friendship with thriller elements...This is vintage Russo with a cunning twist.” (Carol Haggas, Booklist, starred) 

“Russo’s first standalone novel in a decade mixes his signature themes - father-and-son relationships, unrequited love, New England small-town living, and the hiccups of aging - with stealthy clue-dropping in a slow-to-build mystery...In the final stretch, surprising, long-kept secrets are revealed. This is vintage Russo.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not his best but not bad

Richard Russo has been one of my favorite authors for decades, but like many other artists, his peak was before age fifty (you could look it up). The books he wrote in the beginning were marvelous, full of wry humor, terrific characters and interesting plots. You might complain about his locations, all New England, and his people, all white and preppy with the great exception of Tully, perhaps his most memorable character. This book is about growing old, with the same setting, Martha's Vineyard, and the same ethnicities, three white men age sixty-six and a white woman of the same age. This foursome has been in touch with each other since going to Minerva College. The men have been in love with the woman, Jacy, for the entire four decades. Their reunion is the story. It is tempestuous although kinda tame. The characters are quirky. One of the dads of these guys is named, no kidding, Wolfgang Amadeus Moser. Really. This is as big a gaffe as I have ever seen Russo make. It is a preposterous name. The "love affairs" between Lincoln, Teddy, Mickey and Jacy are sympathetic and touching. There is a rollicking bad guy. There is violence, and sex, drugs and rock and roll, earsplittingly loud. The book is way too long. Where are the editors these days? The book could be cut by a third or more and it would be significantly improved. Not his best.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • LiLi
  • Woodstock, GA, United States
  • 08-09-19

What can I say? It's Richard Russo

Mr. Russo is one of my favorite authors. Nobody else captures the humor, angst, and sweetness of the "normal" guy's existence like he does. If I described my neighbor to you, you might be a little bored. Listening to Richard Russo's deft, incisive description, you will laugh, groan, maybe tear up a little bit. This book has a mystery in it, but it's really the main characters' involvement in this mystery that makes it a signature Russo.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Uplifting and Engaging

Faces the free will dilemma with honesty and caring, Breathes life into characters deftly drawn. One of Russo's best (which says a lot).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great Read

This was a page turner for me. The narrator’s voice is clear and strong. One of those books that I do not want to end. I never guessed the outcome. The characters were believable and likable. There were a couple of events I found to be unrealistic but for the whole of the novel I will let them slide.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Clever, Funny, Achingly Sad, Hopeful!

Excellent writing--I suddenly know these characters and care deeply about how they interpret their lives, and what they still yearn for, at age sixty-six! The way Russo tells the story, you laugh, groan, laugh again, and hope for the best, all at once. Best novel I have read in a long, long time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • Warm Springs, Georgia
  • 08-12-19

Possible answers to the questions of youth.

Fate or Free Will? Accident or Predestination?

Who we were then and who we are now? Who we thought we would be and what we expected we’d do vs who we turned out to be and what we did. All the questions we asked when we were young and asked again in later years.

All these issues addressed and maybe answered by three finely wrought characters during an island reunion fifty years and many page-turning scenes from their youth, later.

As all of Russo’s work, Chances Are . . . is an engaging piece that reflects on the thoughts and actions of old men looking back on the thoughts and actions of their youth. Without giving anything away, the reader walks away secure in the notion that survival and even renewal might be possible at any point in life. Might be possible.

A comforting to a gentleman of a certain age and an enjoyable read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another brilliant book from Richard Russo

Russo, one of my favorite authors, hits the mark perfectly with Chances Are. He weaves history, a bit of politics, humor, drama and strongly developed characters that tell a story I could not stop listening to.
I've been patiently awaiting another great story from Russo and this one was well worth the wait.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thanks!

Always look forward to a new book from Richard, he has written another wonderful story with enjoyable characters. I hope we get another some day soon.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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return to form

we'll crafted original characters, for whom you care
despite flaws. as engaging as Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool.