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Publisher's Summary

“[Russo’s] first novel in ten years hits the ball out of the park.... You’ll lap up this gripping, wise, and wonderful summer treat.” (The Boston Globe)

“A cascade of charm.... Russo is an undeniably endearing writer, and chances are this story will draw you back to the most consequential moments in your own life.” (The Washington Post)

One beautiful September day, three men in their late 60s convene on Martha's Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college in 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 is 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, 45 years later, three lives and that of a significant other are put on display while the distant past confounds the present in a relentless squall of surprise and discovery. Shot through with Russo's trademark comedy and humanity, Chances Are... introduces a new level of suspense and menace that will quicken the listener's heartbeat throughout this absorbing saga. 

©2019 Richard Russo (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Russo’s] first novel in ten years hits the ball out of the park.... Along with his wry eye for irony and regret, [Russo] offers up a compelling mystery.... When the denouement comes, it’s a stunner. Nevertheless, all bombshells feel earned. If you’re on a hammock in the Vineyard or under a tent in Acadia, or slumped over the fire escape of your hot city apartment, chances are your chances are awfully good that you’ll lap up this gripping, wise, and wonderful summer treat.” (Mameve Medwed, The Boston Globe

“A cascade of charm.... Each [character is] so appealing that you hate to let him go, though you’ll quickly feel just as fond of the next one.... One of the great pleasures of Chances Are... stems from how gracefully Russo moves the story along two time frames, creating that uncanny sense of memories that feel simultaneously near and remote.... Russo is an undeniably endearing writer, and chances are this story will draw you back to the most consequential moments in your own life.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"Chances Are... is, at heart, less a mystery than an evocation of what happens when [its characters] discover that 'the membrane separating sympathy from pity could be paper thin'.... The cloud of remorse that hangs over [the novel] can be affecting precisely because these old friends have so much difficulty articulating their emotions. Will they be able to open up to whatever the future holds?" (Alida Becker, The New York Times Book Review

What listeners say about Chances Are...

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

17 people found this helpful

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Too preachy ??

Just having finished might not be the best time to review this book as I can find myself rethinking many of the topics this book contained. Sometimes I REALLY liked the way Russo worded various passages. Other times I thought “only a guy could like this book” or “I can totally see dumb guys doing this”. So I’m not sure. I think I liked it, but I did feel that some of the character developments went on for too long. However I very much liked how this story ended,in fact it was my favorite part of the book. So for now my numbers stand bit as time goes on, I reserve the right to change them.

9 people found this helpful

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Waste of valuable time

This story was convoluted and contrived. I couldn’t ever get to the point that I cared about any of the characters.

8 people found this helpful

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Incredibly Disappointing

It is difficult to come up with words to describe how bad this book really is. From an author both my wife and I have respected and admired comes this truly dreadful and trite piece of trash. Poorly written and even more poorly conceived. Cliched attempts to be relevant and wise. Adoption, sexual assault and incest - whatever the topic, Russo’s characters define themselves as jerks, assholes or just weak - morally and mentally. This is Russo’s view of men? Terrible characters who we came to dread with each chapter. Oh no, another dive into Tedusky’s pitiful life. Not Lincoln again!! Or Big Mic on Potts? Not to mention the minor jerks - the drunk ex-cop and the narcissistic or abusive father. And by the time we finally got to JC’s DREADFUL story we couldn’t have cared less. She turned out to be even worse than we could ever imagine, and we wished she had never left the island. The narrator had a difficult time distinguishing characters so it was hard to tell who the heck he was reading so the characters mushed together. There was a time, mid book, when we felt that maybe this was a bad book, badly narrated. No, this is it terrible book. It’s so hard to believe that the same mind that wrote Straight Man or Empire Falls could have written this.

25 people found this 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).

6 people found this helpful

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not my favorite Russo

This could have been a very fine short story instead. In fact, the chapter entitled "Mickey" would have sufficed.

5 people found this helpful

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Best part is the title

I have loved Russo's earlier work, but this one indulges in way too much navel-gazing.
Being of an age that makes it easy to recall the historical details of the 1970s, I could easily relate to the characters in their time and place. But the somewhat interesting plot line was constantly derailed while each character explored every side of every thought, past and present. It got old way before the end.

I did like the frequent reference to the way chance impacts our existence, especially as he kept referring to the lyrics of the Johnny Mathis song, "Chances Are."

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

10 people found this helpful

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A Mixed Bag

There are great elements but parts of the story seem contrived. Character development is similarly uneven.

3 people found this helpful

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More of the same

I guess I’m over reading books with quirky characters and a meandering plots that go nowhere.

1 person found this helpful