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Chances Are... (Audiobook) Bets On...

Chances Are... (Audiobook)

written by Richard Russo, read by Fred Sanders

August 2019

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of Richard Russo’s CHANCES ARE..., read by Fred Sanders, via my Bluetooth headphones. This was the perfect thing to do as I worked my way through the endless weeding of our garden, and then later I enjoyed listening in the pool while floating. In it, three men who were college friends in the '60s gather on Martha’s Vineyard. One is now a commercial real estate broker, another a small press publisher, and the third an aging musician. They are reminiscing about life, including the disappearance of a woman on this island back in 1971 right after their graduation. What did happen to Jacy Rockafellow?

I felt like I was eavesdropping as I listened. These are three men who are not quite sure why they are gathering again. They also are not sure what they think about each other now. Were they ever really friends? And why are they still seeking each other’s company? It’s beautifully nostalgic with some extremely haunting moments. Very early in the book, each of these men will learn his status in the Vietnam War draft, as numbers are called up. By the luck of a draw, who has dodged a tough turn in life, and who has been given a hard knock? It sets the tone for the rest of the story.

For years, I had many more male friends than I did female ones. I am not sure why, but listening to this book, I thought about that a lot. I think I liked the way they looked at life without nuance. Conversations were to the point; there was little small talk. Here there is a lot of inner dialogue that occasionally makes its way into words. And that is why I enjoyed these characters so much. Hearing their inner dialogue is a lot of what this book is about --- how they perceive both themselves and each other.

We do learn what happened to Jacy, and it’s not something I would have guessed.

While I started listening on audio, I finished reading in print as my headphone battery died. The hardcover version is printed on really lovely paper; I note this as so many books these days are printed on such flimsy paper.

Russo is a brilliant storyteller, and this made we want to reread his earlier novels. I read somewhere that it is a beach read for guys, which made me smile, and so I handed it to my husband. I will think a long time about CHANCES ARE... And yes, I loved the ellipses in the title; I am very partial to using them when I write, and they conveyed just the right feeling. Oh, and if you are wondering where the title comes from, cue up the Johnny Mathis song. On the audiobook, the singing of it by each of the characters is quite poignant.

This would make for a wonderful book group discussion. If your group does not have men in it, perhaps this would be a great book for them to join in the discussion with.

Chances Are... (Audiobook)
written by Richard Russo, read by Fred Sanders

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Audio: pages
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • ISBN-10: 045148648X
  • ISBN-13: 9780451486486