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Friday, May 09, 2014

Coincidence or Fate? East African Author Lets You Decide

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Coincidence, a novel by J.W. Ironmonger, an author who was born and raised in East Africa, tells one of those stories that's too difficult for me to describe on my own.  Luckily, a more skilled plot summary-er has already done the work for me:
On Midsummer's Day, 1982, three-year-old Azalea Ives is found alone at a seaside fairground.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   One year later, her mother's body washes up on a beach—her link to Azalea unnoticed.                                                                                                                                               On Midsummer's Day, 1992, her adoptive parents are killed in a Ugandan rebel uprising; Azalea is narrowly rescued by a figure from her past.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Terrified that she, too, will meet her fate on Midsummer's Day, Azalea approaches Thomas Post, an expert in debunking coincidences.  Azalea's past, he insists, is random—but as Midsummer's Day approaches, he worries that she may bring fate upon herself.

Intriguing, no?  I thought so.  The book's unique premise made me snatch it up right away.  Although I think I was expecting more of a thriller than a literary novel, I still found Coincidence both interesting and satisfying.  With most of the action taking place during the scenes set in Africa, the story does gets slow at times, especially when narrated by Thomas.  Still, his ruminations on coincidence are fascinating.  While the novel's probably worth reading just for Ironmonger's vivid portrayal of the rugged beauty and senseless brutality that defines Uganda, it's also different, absorbing and, overall, enjoyable.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Coincidence from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you!

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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

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The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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