Chances Are MOBI Ò Hardcover

Chances Are When the truth is found to be lies And all the joy within you dies Don't you want somebody to love Don't you need somebody to loveWouldn't you love somebody to loveYou better find somebody to love love Jefferson Airplane Lincoln his eyes suddenly full reached forward and touched Jacy’s face on the microfilm machine Hey Jace Guess what? We’re all here Teddy Mick Me On the island Remember the Chilmark house? Our last night together on the deck? How we all linked arms and sang? You’d laugh if you could see us now Old men the three of us Old men haunted by you December 1 1969 a date that will live in infamy Well for some anyway It was the day of the first lottery drawing for the new improved selective service draft Nixon’s ploy to reduce anti Vietnam War protests a successful one Three young students at Connecticut’s Minerva College are glued to the TV screen Luck be a lady tonight The results of that lottery resonate on the three Richard Russo image from Penguin Random House Speakers BureauThe three “hashers” scholarship students working in a sorority dining facility as part of their work study aid as Russo did at the University of Arizona remain friends through college seeing each other off one final weekend a Memorial Day get together at a lovely place in Martha’s Vineyard It was a seminal few days for them all setting the course or at least informing the options they would have for the rest of their lives In September 2015 Lincoln Moser still owner of said beach house now a real estate agent in Las Vegas is considering selling the property and wanted one last hurrah there He invites his old pals Teddy Novak a retiring small press publisher from Syracuse and Mickey Gerardi a bear of a musician and sound engineer to join him They are all 66 years old And they were all in love with a fourth member of the Memorial Day gathering one Jacy Calloway The mystery of her disappearance after that weekend is the central axle around which the stories of the three friends is spun the spokes being the web of secrets held and lies told among the three and those connected to them Truths are revealed bit by bit We begin with Lincoln product of an Eastern mother she being the only child of a comfortable family and the person who beueathed him the house and a domineering SOB of a father one Wolfgang Amadeus Moser incapable of error and minority owner of a copper mine in Tucson Arizona Russo ironically fits him with a small frame and a sueaky voice to go with his bullying When mom gives him the lowdown on how successful the vainglorious Wolf really is Lincoln’s world is shaken Teddy Novak is the product of a two teacher midwestern family Problem is that they were interested in their school children than they were in him Tall skinny and growth spurted onto his high school basketball team he was actually not a bad player But another bully this time a coach thought he was not aggressive enough and sicced a rough player on him to try to toughen him up Result was a fracture and a good excuse to uit the team Teddy suffers from spells probably some form of bi polar disorder He has a monastic bent is a fan of Thomas Merton and publishes books that focus on religion He’s good at fixing things other than himselfMickey Girardi arrived at Minerva almost by accident his working class family not thinking much of his academic potential until he aced an SAT But his true love is music He is a particularly large person around 6’5” with a Ruthian physiue and a penchant for hitting things His life of deception began that weekendThe story of this odd trio alternates between the present of the reunion 2015 and the Memorial Day weekend 1971 that has stayed with them and shares perspectives mostly between Lincoln and Teddy Mickey’s experiences get attention all in a bunch at the back end of the novel We get a look at their pre Minerva selves their college bonding and their lives since Each is a product of their backgrounds and their timesThis is a novel about the three male characters with the female characters serving in supporting roles Jacy primarily but also Lincoln’s mother and wife an associate of Teddy’s and a sometime singer in Mickey’s band One could see Jacy as a personification of the free spirit of the age interacting with the cultures of the past Lost innocence maybe Of course Jacy the person was tied to the past as well engaged to a caricature of an entitled rich kid Lance or Vance or Chance and struggling with that Another male character an odious neighbor Mason Troyer offers up the sort of crudity and Harvey Weinstein personal excess that has always been an element in the American character A predator and a bully Also a suspect to some in Jacy’s disappearance And speaking of mystery Russo goes all Miss Marple on us for a while putting Linc into the role of amateur sleuth doing research at the local library talking with a retired cop maybe getting himself into a bit of trouble In this there is a wonderful scene in which the retired cop lays out a particularly grim scenario for Linc about Jacy’s possible demise So not a comfy cozy The book looks at paths chosen and how much choice there might actually have been Were these examined lives worth living? Lincoln struggles with the Calvinism of his father The elect stayed elect the damned damned Having once made up his mind god never wavered in his judgment which was just fine with Wolfgang Amadeus Moser convinced as he was that he’d somehow merited his election and that others had somehow failed a crucial test possibly in utero leading him to wonder Had his and Teddy’s characters already been formed? At the time college had appeared to offer an endless smorgasbord of possibilities and it felt like they were engaged in the act of becoming Had that been an illusion? Had they already by that point become? Each looks back at what was giving thought to what might have been People who do unspeakable things are often haunted by them for the rest of their lives The rest of us it seems to me are likely to be haunted by what we’ve left undone—the opportunities for generosity we’ve ignored the times we’ve used the fact that we were busy to look the other way other times when we were just plain selfish Even if we’ve lived reasonably well we’re doomed to wonder if we’ve lived best from Russo’s Lit hub articleThe ubiuitous presence of bullies has already been noted but another stream is the relationship of fathers and their children particularly sons Lincoln is clearly for good or ill chiseled from the same stone as his awful father in significant ways The values Mickey’s father passed on to him stay in his consciousness for the rest of his life Teddy’s father influenced his son via indifference Even the retired cop Joe Coffin has significant father son issues to address And one must wonder how the odious neighbor emerged from what by all accounts seemed a loving home Jacy has some serious parental issues as wellRusso has trifurcated himself into his characters My not wanting to go out too far on a limb my worrying sometimes if I’m playing things too safe–all of that I off loaded onto Lincoln Teddy loves the life of the mind but he knows that it can also stultify the heart Mickey is just a kick ass rocker I had the same drive that Bruce Springsteen has minus the talent from the Time interviewHis exposure to Martha’s Vineyard began when his mother took him to a resort in Mnemsha when he was 10 determined to show him some beauty in the world growing up as he did in an upstate New York factory town He is the age of his characters so looks through a common lens on the current of their mutual time It lends a resonance to the story one I the same age give or take well recognize As I do his take from the above noted article that it can be a good thing to have an inner voice uestioning our motives and doubting our honorBottom line is that I liked this book a lot Not so much maybe as I liked Bridge of Sighs or Empire Falls but that is a particularly high and unfair bar A good read for any who enjoy literary fiction a particularly good read for us boomers Will you like it? Chances are the chances are awfully good “That’s the thing about lies right? Individually they don’t amount to much but you never know how many others you’ll need to tell in order to protect that first one and damned if they don’t add up Over time they get all tangled up until one day you realize it isn’t even the lies themselves that matter It’s that somehow lying has become your default mode And the person you lie to most is yourself” Review posted – September 20 2019Publication date July 30 2019 hardcover July 7 2020 trade paperbackEXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s GR and FB pagesMy reviews of other Russo novels Empire Falls Bridge of Sighst That Old Cape MagicInterviews Time Richard Russo on Misogyny and Why War is Never Far Away by Lucy Feldman MV Times Richard Russo on life and writing by Jack Shea The Times Union Richard Russo novel on three men who reflect aspects of himself by Jack Rightmyer Foster’s Author Richard Russo on writing and the writer’s life by Deborah McDermott The Book Show #1623 Richard Russo audio interview with Joe Donahue– 30 minutes and well worth your timeItems of Interest LitHub On the Moral Power of Regret Knopf ‘Chances Are’ by Richard Russo some info on Russo and a small excerpt Waiting for a Number a poem by Peter BalakianMusic Johnny Mathis Chances Are with lyrics Creedence Clearwater Revival Suzy live at Woodstock The Street Where you Live Bob Seger Nutbush City Limits Jefferson Airplane Somebody to Love from the LPNovember 30 2019 Literary Hub includes Chances Are in its 78 Best Book Covers of 2019 “Who in their f#cking world would listen to Cat Stevens?”Really????METhis novel exasperated the heck out of mewith lengthy inconseuential long winded louacious ramblings I enjoyed meeting Richard Russo at a book reading I’ve always been ‘certain’ that I would love Russo’s storytelling but there is too much uninteresting ramblings in this book I’ll read “Empire Falls” sometime but this being my first impression of the established American author — leaves me disappointed I found this novel mostly boring stereotyping irritatingwith occasional judgement interest Shame on me for being such a cynical readerBut it’s what happened Other than the beginning of this novel the setup and an intriguing excerpt that had me pause — “What were the odds that these three would end up assigned to the same freshman dorm suite at Minerva”“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”I just didn’t enjoy the sarcasm the dialogue the attention to braless women the ongoing chatter about a woman long ago they barely knew The many interactions between the “three stooges” Lincoln Micky and Teddy and their parents made my skin burnitchand exfoliate without me even touching my body I was shaking my head much too much I’ll just chalk it up to a primal reaction I take full responsibility for my dislikeBut the uestion I often asked myself“In a day where white supremacy is no jokewhy do we need or desire this book right now”? 25 stars A different kind of book from Russo I like his novels I think because they are usually about towns where most of the population lives on the other side of the tracks and it reminds me of my own early life in a depressed New England mill town New Bedford MA Usually he focuses on those who stay and those who leave This novel Chances Are still focuses on class – the three main characters are poor enough to be scholarship boys at an elite Connecticut college and they work in the cafeteria for spending money But the main focus of the story is on their lifelong friendship their mutual love for the most beautiful girl at the college and the mystery of her disappearance years ago They went to college in the late 60s early 70s All three are now 66 years old and they are holding a reunion on Martha’s Vineyard It’s been a decade since they have seen each otherThe three college buddies all have different personalities A uiet introvert and bachelor who has had a career as a small press publisher; a big loud guy who is a rock musician who punches people out; and the third a real estate agent in Los Vegas who has a stable marriage and kids In college they called themselves the Three Musketeers and the beautiful rich young woman hung out and went on ‘group dates’ with them safety in numbers even though she was engaged to a fourth guy going to a distant ivy league college Right after all four graduated and shortly before she was to be married the foursome had a last get together on Martha’s Vineyard where one of the men’s families had inherited a house It was also just before the big rocker guy was scheduled to go to Viet Nam due to the draft lottery A great time was had by all They left the island by ferry at different times but the girl was never seen again Did one of the Three Musketeers decide he couldn’t take his unreuited love any and kill her? Did she forego the bus and decide to hitchhike from the ferry and got picked up by a murderer? Did a nasty burly neighbor on the island do her in after she refused his advances at an island party? While on vacation with his buddies one of the men runs into the former police chief from the time the girl disappeared and inadvertently re ignites his interest in the case He finds out the chief still thinks of the three men as the main suspects in her disappearance Russo has great humorThe men watch the drawing on the draft numbers on a black and white TV in the cafeteria and sing ‘O Canada’ “which might’ve gone over better if they’d known than the first two words of the song” Of one of the boys’ fathers who lived in a dumpy western town “He was a firm believer in’learning to love what you have’ by which he seemed to mean the town and himself” When he was a boy the introverted man told his parents “that he felt odd as if some kind of instructional handbook on boyhood had been distributed to all the other boys” “Unable to decide on a college major he opted for general studies a curriculum designed not so much to answer the uestion as to postpone it” Worker bees on the island were “People for whom summer wasn’t a verb” A couple of other passages that I liked “He also was slowly coming to understand that his father’s greatness what made the man worth emulating was his ability to love what he’d been given what had been thrust upon him what he had little choice but to accept” “What made the contest between fate and free will so lopsided was that human beings invariably mistook one for the other hurling themselves furiously against that which is fixed and immutable while ignoring the very things over which they actually had some control” The chapter titles alternate among the three men and the story alternates between past – their college days and childhoods and present – their reunion on the island view spoiler One of them solves the mystery for us with a highly unusual but plausible story hide spoiler NOW AVAILABLE4 12 rounded down to a 4Oh my goodness this book takes me back My husband who was then my boyfriend and I also sat in front of a TV in 1969 when the draft lottery was televised He had a college deferment and fortunately his number was high but the anxiety of that particular time was off the charts high Imagine your future decided by the random calling out of a number whether you were able to continue on the path you were leading or got sent to Vietnam None of my friends believed in this war barely understanding it and yet many were sent there died were held prisoner or returned with bodies and minds mangled by this tragedyIn this novel three college friends sat and waited for their numbers to be called watching on a small TV at the back of the kitchen of the sorority house where they worked Mickey had the lowest number and was most certainly going to be called then Lincoln and Teddy This day affected them all in different ways The fourth member of their close group of friends was Jacy the girl that everyone falls in love with beautiful caring charismatic devil may care they all loved her She was waiting with arms open to Mickey when they left the building she had been waiting to hear the numbers they all received Fast forward over forty years and the three friends have decided to reunite on Martha’s Vineyard at the house that Lincoln’s wife owns the last place they were all together They are all still wondering what happened to Jacy how they never got to say goodbye and never heard from her She left behind a fiance whom she didn’t seem to love and parents that were grieving for their lost daughterAs they visit the old places that held so many memories they find out the truth of how they have lived their lives There are medical issues financial issues marital problems and yet when they are together they still feel the ties that bindEventually we do find out what happened that last day on the Vineyard and it is a believable though haunting endingRusso has crafted yet again a strongly character driven novel this time with a mystery tied to it I felt comfortable back in the hands of a gifted storyteller and thoroughly enjoyed the ride I don’t feel it is uite as strong a book as Nobody’s Fool or Empire Falls but it’s still one great story and I highly recommend it I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through EdelweissThis book is set to publish on July 30 2019I just reread this book with my book club and it was a good one for discussion I think I liked it even reading it the second time Over forty years have passed since these three men met during the sixties in college and now that they’ve reached their sixties they’ve gathered together on Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend As we hear their stories and know what secrets they are holding keeping them to themselves there is another story that slowly starts to be unveiled as wellRevisiting the early years of the war in Vietnam they reflect back on the night of the first draft lottery sitting around a tiny black and white television screen with Mickey’s birthday coming up first at which point the others begin singing ‘Oh Canada” The next birthday among them to come up was Lincoln’s and then much later Teddy’s As they slowly drift out of the house lost in their own personal reflections on luck good and bad they notice Jacy the spirited carefree girl from a privileged family that they all loved They were all in love with her during those years waiting for them and she’s standing waiting for them for their news When they see her wrap her arms around Mickey when she hears his news all of his buddies still in disbelief over his bad luck with the lottery now only feel envy in this moment Standing in their old haunts thoughts drift back memories of those years when they were in college and wonder what has become of Jacy the girl who stole all their hearts and in truth a part still belongs to her No longer the young men they were then they have changed physically along with their years but are also no longer the carefree optimistic youths they were then They are responsible men with responsible jobs for the most part Lincoln is a commercial real estate broker Teddy is a small press publisher only Mickey lives close by still living his life as a musician after his return from Canada Despite the years they don’t feel all that different from all those years ago especially when they’re here together like this But step away from each other and perspective gives them a new view Health concerns factor in limitations they didn’t have so many years ago But still they uestion where is Jacy and why isn’t she there with them? As they begin to try to find the answer to this they encounter a seemingly endless series of dead ends That doesn’t seem to stop the search or conjecturing on possibilities but they can’t stop picturing her in these places they wandered through together in their past Russo excels at creating a strong sense of this place and time and these ordinary everyday characters He seems to conjure them fully formed all of their uirks and eccentricities on display so that you can picture them doing some of the things they do and you feel as if you know them as though you’ve never not known them Pub Date 30 Jul 2019Many thanks to the ARC provided by my BookAngel Friends from college and now sixty six years old three men reunite at a house on Martha’s Vineyard owned by one of them During their Vietnam era college years all of them were in love with the same privileged rebellious girl who rounded out their friendly foursome What is the possibility or chance that she was in love with one of them? From the vantage point of age each man considers his life as it exists today and as it was as a college student One plays it safe one plays it fast and loose and one barely plays at all What happened to their chances of a rosy future? In some instances the impact of the father looms large The truth and that which is untrue are major themes Typically one lies to prevent conseuences but tells a falsehood when one believes something to be true but doesn’t possess all of the facts Is withholding information a lie by omission? Is there a difference between facts and reality? In the past an unresolved event occurred that causes these uestions to emerge Rich characters a spectacular sense of place and masterful storytelling define this brilliant novel This was my first experience with Russo but certainly not my last Think of the way you looked at things in 1969 and how you see them now 50 years later  Any differences?  Reflect on what you can afford to lose in life about proximate cause versus remote causes  What part does luck play in the scenario?  There is a buried truth here that will be uncovered based on a lie that was never actually uttered     This author draws a bead on his characters and it is faultless  Wry observations on the aging process may have you nodding or smiling ruefully  I am genuinely sorry to have closed the cover on this novel and give it all 5 stars without hesitation Three sixty six year old men friends since college in the 60’s meet up on Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend these are three very different type of men then and now and they all were secretly in love with a girl from their college days who completed their foursome “All for one one for all”As the men come together on the island they are all still puzzling over an occurrence that happened here on Memorial weekend 1971 and as the story unfolds we find out all about their lives their families and the truth about that weekend in the past Although there is a level of mysterysuspense there is uite a bit of humor involved alsoI haven’t read to many books involving the bonds of male friendship but I really enjoyed this From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls comes a new revelation a riveting story about the abiding yet complex power of friendshipOne beautiful September day three men convene on Martha's Vineyard friends since meeting in college circa the sixties They couldn't have been 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 on the Vineyard in 1971 the disappearance of the woman each of them loved Jacy Rockafellow Now 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 suall 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 uicken the reader's heartbeat For both longtime fans and lucky newcomers Russo's latest is a stunning demonstration of a highly acclaimed author deepening and expanding his remarkable achievement A beautiful story of friendship redemption and forgiveness Russo has brought forth another masterpiece uoting from the last chapter What made the contest between fate and free will so lopsided was that human beings invariably mistook one for another hurling themselves furiously against that which is fixed and immutable while ignoring the very things over which they actually had some control Profound heart warming and often humorous this is a well written story filled with insights and beauty among many other things Highly recommended

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