Our role is to be exactly on the border, to stand in the grey area between fate and free will, and to play Ping-Pong there.
We’ve all had that moment; a bus we missed, a drink we spilled, a sudden power outage that upended our day and led us somewhere quite unexpected. In The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum, we ask ourselves what if these sudden vagaries of fate weren’t random at all? What if in fact ‘chance encounters’ were all carefully designed?
Enter Guy, Emily, and Eric, three seemingly normal persons who happen to work for a secret agency that arranges random coincidences, everything from ‘meet-cutes’ for lovers to be, to epiphanies for scientists and inventors, to inspiration to artists and more. And higher level coincidence makers do things that may well determine the fate of the world. But our three coincidence makers have their own issues as well. Emily is in love with Guy. Guy though is still hung up over his lost love Cassandra with whom he became involved while they were both serving as Imaginary Friends. (Yep Imaginary Friends are an official job in this world as well.) Eric meanwhile has a habit of using his coincidence making abilities to arrange ‘accidental’ meetings with eligible young ladies.
Eric and Emily clash over ‘Coincidence Maker’ ethics; when Emily struggles on how to ignite creative fire in a potential poet currently employed as an accountant, Eric suggests the simplest thing would be to get the target fired thus forcing him to take up other interests. Emily is appalled by the suggestion, but as Eric points out, if the man spends the next fifty years as an accountant, won’t he just be miserable anyway? Guy is perfectly OK with arranging for his targets to be fired; in fact he does in the beginning chapter as he arranges for a particular pair of young lovers to come together. Emily meanwhile decides to use her coincidence-making skills to win Guy’s heart. And then Guy is approached by a higher level coincidence maker with what will be his most important and dangerous assignment yet – if he has the stomach for it.
Free will and destiny are explored here in an utterly novel way. Twists and turns abound in the plot which goes to some very unexpected places indeed. Blum has fashioned us a truly original and thought provoking fantasy evocative of Italo Calvino among others, but with a voice and heart all its own.
The Coincidence Makers
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