Book Review: The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum

Our role is to be exactly on the border, to stand in the gray area between fate and free will, and to play Ping-Pong there. We create situations that create situations that create more situations that ultimately can create thoughts and decisions. Our objective is to light a spark on the fate side of the boundary so that someone o the free will side of the boundary will see the spark and decide to do something. We do not light fires, we do not breach borders, and we definitely do not think our role is to tell people what to do. We are creators of possibilities, givers of hints, winkers of tempting winks, discoverers of options.

We find all of the elements for a thought-provoking, world-view-challenging story in The Coincidence Makers which is a unique blend of speculative fiction and fantasy. Guy is an imaginary friend turned fledgling coincidence maker- forced out of his original line of work via a controversial decision to intervene with the choices of his former imaginer, something that is strictly forbidden. Where he finds himself now is in a better albeit much more difficult position where he tasked with engineering the infinitesimal and complex latticework that connects every person, every action, every outcome.

Billions of such movements happened every day, corresponding with each other, offsetting each other and swinging each other in a tragic-comic dance of possible futures. None of the protagonists were aware of these movements. And he, in one simple decision, saw the change that was about to happen, and then executed it. Elegantly, quietly, secretly. Even if it were exposed, no one would believe what stood behind it.

Early on we are introduced to two other characters, Eric and Emily who also find themselves in the initial training period, having come into this magical field for various reasons of their own. Together the three embark down the unusual path before them, learning how to influence moments in the lives of others for the ultimate satisfaction of an assigned mission- something that initially is as small as the timing of a spilled cup of coffee or a traffic jam but will soon amount to a potentially life-changing scenario.

“First of all, you are secret agents. Except all the others are first of all agents and then secondly secret, but you are first of all secret and to a certain extent, also agents. Your existence is regular and continuous, like any human being. You eat, drink, fart sometimes and occasionally with catch a virus, but with the help of the tools you receive in the course, you’ll understand the way in which cause and effect operate in the world and how to exploit this understanding in order to create small and nearly imperceptible events that help people come to life-changing decisions. Clear?”

As the story progresses we come to know the intricacies of each character and their unique flair for the coincidence they create. These eccentricities are subtly based on their own experiences so it is no wonder that Guy often gravitates to matchmaking coincidences having only recently lost the love of his life. When a mystery starts to unravel we are quickly able to see the humanity hidden behind the musical facade of our coincidence makers and the truth of Guy’s inclinations is revealed.

The foundation is laid for the imminent surreal and engaging plotline that straddles the border between fantasy and suspense. The Coincidence Makers will touch your heart and make you question every seemingly ordinary interaction of your life up to this point.

Look at the line of time.

Of course, it is only an illusion. Time is space, not a line. But for our purposes, look at the line of time. Watch it. Identify how each event on the line is both a cause and effect. Try to locate its starting point.

You will not succeed, of course.

Every now has a before.

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A review copy of this title was provided by St. Martin’s Press

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