Friday Firsts – The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum
Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well.The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 6th 2018
In this genre-bending novel, there is no such thing as chance and every action is carefully executed by highly trained agents. You’ll never looks at coincidences the same way again.
What if the drink you just spilled, the train you just missed, or the lottery ticket you just found was not just a random occurrence? What if it’s all part of a bigger plan? What if there’s no such thing as a chance encounter? What if there are people we don’t know determining our destiny? And what if they are even planning the fate of the world?
Enter the Coincidence Makers—Guy, Emily, and Eric—three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets—scientists on the brink of breakthroughs, struggling artists starved for inspiration, loves to be, or just plain people like you and me…
When an assignment of the highest level is slipped under Guy’s door one night, he knows it will be the most difficult and dangerous coincidence he’s ever had to fulfill. But not even a coincidence maker can see how this assignment is about to change all their lives and teach them the true nature of fate, free will, and the real meaning of love.
Here too, like always, timing was everything.
Five hours before painting the southern wall in his apartment for the 250th time, Guy sat at the small café and tried to sip his coffee in a deliberate, calculated way.
His body was tilted back a bit from the table, leaning in a position that was supposed to suggest a calmness engendered by years of self-discipline, with the small coffee cup gently cradled between his fingers like a precious seashell. From the corner of his eye, he followed the progress of the second hand on the large clock hanging above the cash register. As always, in the final moments before implementation, he felt the same frustrating awareness of his breathing and his heartbeat, which occasionally drowned out the ticktock of the seconds.
The café was half full.
He glanced around at the people and again saw in his mind the spiderwebs that traversed the air, the thin and invisible connections that linked them.
Sitting across from him at the other end of the café was a round-faced teenager, resting her head against the windowpane, allowing the music produced by marketing alchemists specializing in teenage romance to flood her thoughts via thin earphone wires. Her closed eyes, her relaxed facial features — everything radiated serenity. Guy didn’t know enough about her to determine whether it was indeed genuine. The young woman wasn’t part of the equation at the moment. She wasn’t supposed to be part of it — just part of the background buzz.
An insecure couple on a first or second date sat at the table opposite the young woman, trying to navigate through what was perhaps a friendly conversation, or a job interview for the position of spouse, or a quiet war of witticisms camouflaged by smiles and occasional side-glances in order to avoid the prolonged eye contact that would create a false sense of intimacy. In fact, this couple was an example of all hurried relationships that anxiously revolve around themselves. The world was full of such couplings, regardless of how hard it tried to prevent them.
A bit toward the back, in the corner, sat a student busy erasing the face of an old love from his heart, at a table full of papers covered in dense handwriting. He gazed at a large mug of hot chocolate, immersed in a daydream disguised as academic concentration. Guy knew his name, medical history, emotional history, musings, dreams, small fears. Guy had everything filed away somewhere … everything he needed to know in order to guess the possibilities, to try to arrange them in accordance with the complex statistics of causes and effects.
Finally, two waitresses with tired eyes — who were somehow still smiling and standing — conducted a quiet, intense conversation by the closed door to the kitchen. Or rather, one of them spoke while the other listened, nodding occasionally, offering signs according to the predetermined “I’m Paying Attention” protocol, though it seemed to Guy she was thinking about something completely different.
He also knew her history. Anyway, he hoped he did.
He put down the cup of coffee and counted the seconds in his head.
It was seventeen minutes before four o’clock in the afternoon, according to the clock above the cash register.
He knew that each person in the café would have a slightly different time on his or her watch. A half a minute before or after didn’t really matter.
After all, people were not only differentiated from one another by place. They also operated in different times. To a certain extent, they moved within a personal time bubble of their own making. Part of Guy’s work, as the General had said, was to bring these times together without generating the sense of an artificial encounter.
Guy himself didn’t have a watch. He’d discovered that he didn’t ever use one. He was so conscious of time that he had no need for it.
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. He was like a man painting great and complex landscapes, but without a brush and paint — simply with the precise and gentle turn of a big kaleidoscope.
If I didn’t exist, he’d thought more than once, they would need to invent me. They would have to.
Billions of such movements happened every day, corresponding with each other, offsetting each other and swinging each other in a tragiccomic 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. And still, he always trembled a bit beforehand.
“First of all,” the General had told them when they began, “you are secret agents. All the others are first of all agents and secondly secret, but you are first of all secret and to a certain extent, also agents.”
My First Impressions
I’m honestly not entirely sure what I think at this point. It feels like it could get really good, or it could … maybe not.There are a lot of details, which is not necessarily a bad thing, will have to keep reading to see if they are used well, become too much, or not. I do like that very last line, has my interest. (Who doesn’t love secret people?)
What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to share in the comments!