An unlikely thriller about the behind-the-scenes operatives who keep the gears of chance turning.
Blum’s (Giving the Moon, 2010) novel has the determinacy of fate as its core. But fate isn’t impersonal luck or divine intervention; rather, it’s an ordinary, albeit unseen, bureaucracy. Emily, Eric, and Guy have been operatives in this supernatural organization—professional coincidence-makers—for three years as the story opens. They’ve completed their course work in dreams, luck distribution, and how to be imaginary friends to a wide spectrum of normal people. They’ve studied works such as Introduction to Serendipity as they’ve adapted to being the world’s most secret agents. Their job now is to stand “in the gray area between fate and free will,” where they “create situations that create situations that create more situations that ultimately can create thoughts and decisions,” and although they possess other powers (including “the ability to experience the present as something that was the future until a moment ago when it became ever so slightly past”), they’re still quite human in their confused loyalties and emotions, including those they have for one another. Blum unfolds his fractured and fascinating plot in this strange, alternate hyperreality. Along the way, he introduces a large cast of characters for whom Emily, Eric, or Guy have at one point or other been imaginary friends, including a little boy named Michael, who grows up to have an unexpected impact on the world of coincidence-makers. The nature of the novel’s premise allows the author plenty of leeway to smartly play around with the concept of coincidence in a fictional narrative, and he builds a tesseract of contingent possibilities that eventually spurs the story to a dramatic climax. Although the narrative can occasionally be too expository, it’s rendered all the more exciting due to the fact that virtually anything can happen in a world where “you’re no longer sure whether you are you, or someone they wanted you to be.”
A smart, unpredictable, and heartfelt adventure story about the agents of luck.