Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Book Clubs, Fantasy, Fiction
He always loved this warm sensation, which nearly permeated the bone, during the minute preceding the execution of a mission. It was the sensation that came from knowing he was about to reach out a finger and nudge the planet, or the heavens. The knowledge that he would be diverting things from their regular and familiar path, things that until a second ago were moving in a completely different direction.
The Coincidence Makers is a fantasy novel, but before you turn away…it takes place in the midst of everyday life. The part of life we can’t see, behind the scenes in the world of coincidences and imaginary friends. Have you ever wondered about any of the things that happen in a way that changes your life? Author Yoav Blum introduces Emily, Guy, and Eric, three newly minted coincidence makers just beginning their careers with things like matchmaking, changing a worldview, bringing families together, and finding a life’s work. They are human themselves, but not really. More like inhabiting a human form to do this work on another plane. They are the spilt coffee, missed bus, power outage, and the thousands of other odd occurrences that, ultimately, have a deeper meaning. But what about their lives? Do coincidence makers have coincidence makers themselves? And are they infallible? Do things always work as they plan them?
Guy is the main protagonist in The Coincidence Makers, mostly because he is the only one who has not segued completely from his previous job as an imaginary friend. You see, he fell in love with another IF, Cassandra, something highly unusual and about which nothing could be done once he was pulled from the job. Since that time, despite enjoying his new work and the luxury of having a physical presence and the ability to experience things like coffee and rain, he continues to pine for Cassandra. This, despite the presence of Emily who is lovely and charming and interested in him. When she uses coincidences to evoke emotions in him it backfires. He doesn’t reciprocate, she makes a decision that none of them had ever considered, and a small hole is torn in the cloth of their world.
Without a careful hand The Coincidence Makers could easily wind up in the land of precious—a country I don’t like to visit in my fiction. But Baum avoids this, partly with the addition of a human character—a hit man whose proficiency is such that he is sought after by the highest echelons of, well, people looking to have other people killed. His story begins to overlap with Guy’s and then, gently, other characters lap up as well, until the whole emerges and it all makes perfect sense.
Between the unnerving chaos of today’s world and the bleakness of some of the fiction I’ve been reading this year, I was ready for charming creativity and The Coincidence Makers delivered. The novel is not perfect, but Blum adroitly manages his plot and pacing. There are twists, but they are the same kind that appear in real life and so, elicit a natural emotional response without manipulation. There is a layer of depth beneath the lightness and fantasy, and Blum handles it all with a gentleness that lends a feeling of security. This meant the entire time I was reading the novel, I was filled with enjoyment and pleasure—exactly what I needed. Coincidence?
“And perhaps that’s the most important thing. There’s always a broader picture. There’s always something beyond the system you’re concentrating on. Never forget that.”