By Ekta R. Garg
April 12, 2018
Genre: Speculative fiction
Date released: March 6, 2018
Rated: Binge it! / 5 stars
A man who spends his career orchestrating events for others receives the most challenging task of his life when he’s forced to make an ethical choice. Complicating matters is a colleague who has fallen in love with him when she knows he’s still pining after someone else. Israel author Yoav Blum makes his U.S. debut with the mind-bending novel The Coincidence Makers.
The Coincidence Makers create life-changing moments for people. They’re responsible for those small incidents that turn into big accomplishments, all for someone’s betterment. If an accountant harbors the passion to write poetry but feels too shy to share his work, the Coincidence Makers facilitate a situation where the car of a renowned poet breaks down in front of the accountant’s house. Then they make sure the poet can’t find his cell phone, so he has to knock on the accountant’s door in order to use a landline to call a tow truck. The poet and the accountant talk, the accountant receives much-needed encouragement, and he begins to publish his poetry. He’s never the same again.
Guy, Emily, and Eric, all members of the same class of the Coincidence Makers course, enjoy meeting regularly to compare notes on the assignments they receive. An enigmatic man who calls himself the General sends them their cases, and during their weekly breakfast they share tips that work as well as tactics that didn’t. The three are such close friends that they tiptoe around the truth of Emily’s romantic feelings toward Guy. They also know the other big truth: at one time, Guy was in love with someone named Cassandra. They’re no longer in one another’s lives, but he’s never forgotten her and can’t reciprocate Emily’s love.
Then Guy receives a new case. He’s supposed to arrange the circumstances for the death of someone he once knew almost as well as he knew Cassandra. Never before has a case targeted someone from his own life, and Guy grapples with the moral implications of what he’s asked to do. Meanwhile, Emily makes a decision of her own regarding Guy, and this time the two of them will be the ones forever changed.
Author Yoav Blum challenges his readers with a genre and a format that don’t allow for casual reading. This book demands attention, and those who understand its intentions right away will be more than happy to give it. Blum breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing in the opening pages of the book by employing first, second, and third person points of view. His writing style will take some getting used to, and readers not used to speculative fiction may give up on the book before they get to the end.
In essence Blum has written a story that follows a tried and tested formula: boy and girl meet, become friends, then one of them questions whether they can share love. After a short period of introspection, the answer becomes obvious to both of them. Given these parameters of a regular story, then, Blum forces readers to ask “What if?” not only about his characters but about the essence of who they are as people. About what they represent.
Those who prefer a more traditional format for a story may not enjoy this book as much. Readers willing to experiment in the books they choose would do well to read this novel. Readers ready to go into an author’s world without allowing any preconceived notions to inform them about the characters they encounter will really enjoy this book. I highly recommend adventurous readers Binge The Coincidence Makers.