The Coincidence Authority



➽ [Download] ➺ The Coincidence Authority By John Ironmonger ➸ – E17streets4all.co.uk One seagull and four pieces of bread decide the course of one person s life But is the rest just coincidence THE COINCIDENCE AUTHORITY combines the ideas of David Mitchell or Hanif Kureishi with the w One seagull and four pieces of bread decide the course of one person s life But is the rest just coincidence The Coincidence Authority combines the ideas of David Mitchell or Hanif Kureishi with the warmth of David Nicholls or Marina LewyckaThomas Post is an expert on coincidence He s an authority Every coincidence, he says, can be explained by the cold laws of chance But why then do coincidences so afflict the life of Azalea Lewis And why has Thomas The Coincidence MOBI :ò Post s orderly life been thrown into such disarray by the coincidences of Azalea This is the tale of two lost souls, each with a quest to understand the secret patterns hidden in a very random universe It is the story of the short but eventful life of Azalea Lewis, a foundling child discovered at a travelling fair and it is the unfolding story of Thomas Post who looks for patterns in a haphazard world, and who finds his belief in the fabric of life challenged by Azalea From the windswept tranquillity of a Manx village, to the commuter swarms of London, to the brutal abduction of child soldiers in Africa, this is a search for truth, a search for God, a search for love, and a search for a decent pizza in North London.The Coincidence Authority

I m the author of Not Forgetting the Whale , The Coincidence Authority, Coincidence in the USA , and The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder Here are some things about me I m a Cornishman who was born in Kenya, schooled in Kent, studied in Nottingham and Liverpool, and worked in Nigeria, Slough, Manchester, Edinburgh, Warrington, Warwick and Glasgow Now I live in Parkgate on the Wirral peninsula overlooking the RSPB marshes I once wrote a book on British Zoos The Coincidence MOBI :ò My lovely wife Sue and I are possibly the only non Indonesians ever to have seen a Javan rhino and her calf True You can read about it on my blog at I once drove across the Sahara Desert in a banger You can find the proof on YouTube I once met Idi Amin at a rugby match and he bought me a drink.

The Coincidence Authority eBook ó The Coincidence
  • Hardcover
  • 304 pages
  • The Coincidence Authority
  • John Ironmonger
  • English
  • 09 September 2019
  • 0297866125

10 thoughts on “The Coincidence Authority

  1. says:

    The first of Ironmonger s books published in the USA, the second of his books written, and my second read, Coincidence plops John Ironmonger onto my list of favorite writers.He is a wonderful storyteller, but he is also a philosophy teacher, a purveyor of social justice, and a romantic.A little girl named Azalea is found alone, apparently abandoned, in a fairground in Devon, England, and the story put together like a jigsaw puzzle proceeds to not only trace her back to her roots, but through Soc The first of Ironmonger s books published in the USA, the second of his books written, and my second read, Coincidence plops John Ironmonger onto my list of favorite writers.He is a wonderful storyteller, but he is also a philosophy teacher, a purveyor of social justice, and a romantic.A little girl named Azalea is found alone, apparently abandoned, in a fairground in Devon, England, and the story put together like a jigsaw puzzle proceeds to not only trace her back to her roots, but through Socratic dialogues, debate the merits of determinism the notion that some outer force determines what happens to us and free will, and expose the brutal army of Joseph Kony in Uganda.There is nothing better than a great story about big ideas, delivered in a compelling and loving way And speaking of love, in both the Ironmonger books that I ve read the first being Not Forgetting the Whale , there is an omniscient storyteller who very occasionally voices a sweet amusement at the foibles of his characters I must steal this Also, both novels end with wonderful back of the book material that adds to the reader s knowledge and is as well written as the rest of the book

  2. says:

    Unfortunately and surprisingly, this book is not the type of book that engages me After reading and loving the same author s book Not Forgetting the Whale, I expected to love this book as well, expected a similar style of writing and structure While NFtW has philosophical questions to explore he did so through a charming and lovable protagonist and a wonderfully engaging story Coincidence also has philosophical questions to explore but does so very heavy handedly and at the detriment to chara Unfortunately and surprisingly, this book is not the type of book that engages me After reading and loving the same author s book Not Forgetting the Whale, I expected to love this book as well, expected a similar style of writing and structure While NFtW has philosophical questions to explore he did so through a charming and lovable protagonist and a wonderfully engaging story Coincidence also has philosophical questions to explore but does so very heavy handedly and at the detriment to character development and to the story through which he explores these questions I did not feel engaged with any of the characters nor was there a cohesive plot to follow This wasof an intellectual read and a puzzle to be pieced together In essence, this book is concerned with whether coincidences occur in life or if life is preordained, and if it is, can anything be done about it To explore these philosophical questions we meet Azalea as a 3 year old She is found wandering alone at a fairground and is too young to tell anyone any pertinent information about herself so she is eventually adopted It is through her life that we explore the questions of destiny and chance As an adult, Azalea introduces herself to Thomas, a mathematics professor who specializes in disproving the notion of coincidences Azalea has experienced some disturbing and troubling coincidences which she wants to discuss with Thomas These 2 main characters we meet throughout the book as the story jumps back and forth in time and place from Britain to the civil war in Uganda and to different times in Azalea s life, though not in chronological order We spend a lot of time in Uganda, muchthan is necessary to tell Azalea s story In fact, it is in Uganda where we meet several secondary characters who may or may not survive the civil war For me, all the true feeling and suspense takes place in Uganda and for these secondary characters, the people trying to survive the civil war I feltfor these characters and their plight than about Azalea The civil war Joseph Kony s reign of terror is an important story to tell but felt overdone for the purposes of this novel, not melding smoothly with Azalea s story and concerns Through all of the events narrated and depicted in the book I found out things about Azalea, about who her mother was, about her father, and her adoptive parents All of this information was stumbled upon as pieces of a puzzle slowly coming together But, because the reader doesn t get to know Azalea in any real way other than her philosophical concerns and what happens to her I felt completely removed from and disengaged from her I got to know Thomas slightlythan Azalea because the reader is privy to the inner workings of his mind as he narrates his parts of the story Her early life story is eventually pieced together and told to us through events which take place and at one point she herself tells us about things she has discovered herself the telling not showing of storytelling When we meet her as an adult throughout the book but particularly at the end, we hear her discussing at great length with Thomas her concerns about coincidence and destiny which she feels has ruled her life so far and may still do so Speaking of endings, the end of this book was a disappointment If you are deeply interested in the questions of determinism and destiny and you like intellectual puzzles you may like this book If you prefer character or plot driven novels I would take a pass on this one This turns out to be Ironmonger s debut novel, though the second novel published in the US I understand that he is working on a new book and I look forward to reading that one with the hopes that it will bein keeping with the style of NFtW

  3. says:

    Thomas is a college professor, a stereotypical academic intellectual He teaches a class in probabilities, tries to find rational explanations to things and events that seem coincidental Azalea has experienced, in her life, many things that seem coincidental, things she believes did not happen at random, but are fated by her past One such personal belief of a dire nature causes her to seek out Thomas.From the time she was three, and found wandering alone in a fairground, her life has taken man Thomas is a college professor, a stereotypical academic intellectual He teaches a class in probabilities, tries to find rational explanations to things and events that seem coincidental Azalea has experienced, in her life, many things that seem coincidental, things she believes did not happen at random, but are fated by her past One such personal belief of a dire nature causes her to seek out Thomas.From the time she was three, and found wandering alone in a fairground, her life has taken many different turns Adopted by the Foley, a family with a long line of missionaries, she is taken to live with them in their mission in Uganda This is the most interesting part of the book The scenes in Uganda are taut with suspense Joseph Kony has terrorized the region, making baby soldiers out of boys as young as five When he visits the mission things quickly become dire Who will live and who will die Azalea s and Thomas s relationship is interesting, all the conversations about chances and fate, is there a higher power guiding our lives Are they pre ordained.There is much to think about at the close of this novel As you read the book, one is amazed at the amount of coincidences in Azalea s life This is the type of novel I love to discover Not getting much buzz, but very good, strong characters, history and an all around interesting story There are a few problems with tenses, the novel does go back and forth in time but neither of those things changed my enjoyment I the book This is a first novel by this author and a very worthy one

  4. says:

    We are all the product of a whole host of staggeringly unlikely events As a three year old Azalea was left at a Fairground, and turned over to authorities Soon thereafter, she was adopted by Luke and Rebecca Foley, and after some time, they moved to Uganda to teach the children at a mission in the little township of Langadi, a remote spot which lies north of the Nile in the Moyo District in the province of West Nile It was a troubled time when they arrived in 1984, during Joseph Kony s rWe are all the product of a whole host of staggeringly unlikely events As a three year old Azalea was left at a Fairground, and turned over to authorities Soon thereafter, she was adopted by Luke and Rebecca Foley, and after some time, they moved to Uganda to teach the children at a mission in the little township of Langadi, a remote spot which lies north of the Nile in the Moyo District in the province of West Nile It was a troubled time when they arrived in 1984, during Joseph Kony s reign of terror As an adult, Azalea meets Thomas Lewis, or, one could say she ran into him, literally, as part of a collision of people on an escalator, ending up in a pile Thomas Post is an authority on probability Azalea Lewis is a woman who believes strongly in coincidence, that certain coincidences in her life point to her future fate The death of several of her family members have occurred on the same date, Midsummer s Day, a decade apart beginning with her great grandfather s death leaving her convinced the same fate awaits her There s so muchto this story, but hopefully you will read this, and discover the charm yourself Not long ago, I read John Ironmonger s Not Forgetting the Whale, which I found due to my goodreads friends Antoinette and Betsy s reviews, and which I loved And then I added this one after I read my goodreads friend Betsy s review, and I m so glad I did I love the way Ironmonger manages to incorporate important concepts, current and past events and interweaves them into a compulsively readable story with charm Betsy s review

  5. says:

    Coincidences happen Wishes come true Or maybe they don t J.W Ironmonger creates a real gem of a novel, interweaving an enchanting love story with an intellectually satisfying story of two people trying to make sense of their place in the universe Is everything in our life controlled by an all knowing creator who bends the future in any way that he or she wishes or do things happenor less randomly based on free will Azelea Lewis, the key character of this novel, is the Queen of Coin Coincidences happen Wishes come true Or maybe they don t J.W Ironmonger creates a real gem of a novel, interweaving an enchanting love story with an intellectually satisfying story of two people trying to make sense of their place in the universe Is everything in our life controlled by an all knowing creator who bends the future in any way that he or she wishes or do things happenor less randomly based on free will Azelea Lewis, the key character of this novel, is the Queen of Coincidences Her life is shaped by a series of uncanny events, starting from the time she was three years old and found wandering a fairground in England on Midsummer s Day, 1982 Later, on Midsummer s Day 1992, the couple that adopted Azelea are presumed killed by Uganda s cult like Lord s Resistance Army And the coincidences just keep piling up from there.Her lover and nemesis is Thomas Post, a respected academic who uncovers the scientific explanation behind so called coincidences In particularly fascinating prose, Thomas debunks some of our most widely known and oft repeated historical coincidences in an attempt to show that the universe is, in fact, random.This book will make you think about the concepts of pre destination versus free will Can anyone change the way the universe will unravel Or have we humans tapped into a clever mechanism that allows us to enter our own will into the equation And in the end, does it all even matter It s a rare book that entices the reader to think and feel at the same time One thing s for sure you will never think of coincidences in precisely the same way again

  6. says:

    If you think that your life is charmed and charged with coincidence, meet Dr Thomas Post, a London university applied philosophy professor and gangly, red haired coincidence authority He will shoot down divine belief in coincidences with statistics, theories, and candid, rational, un magical thinking That is whom Azalea Lewis seeks out to question all the tragic coincidences in her life.Azalea was born in the Isle of Man and orphaned at three when her mother disappeared while with her at a De If you think that your life is charmed and charged with coincidence, meet Dr Thomas Post, a London university applied philosophy professor and gangly, red haired coincidence authority He will shoot down divine belief in coincidences with statistics, theories, and candid, rational, un magical thinking That is whom Azalea Lewis seeks out to question all the tragic coincidences in her life.Azalea was born in the Isle of Man and orphaned at three when her mother disappeared while with her at a Devon fairground, Midsummer s Day, 1982 Later, she finds out her mother was abducted and killed that day, and that her father could have been one of three men She was adopted by good natured, loving missionaries and moved to Uganda Her adoptive parents were also killed on Midsummer s Day, in 1992 Will she die, too, on the next Midsummer s Day, June 21, 2012 She thinks so There arecoincidences to be revealed as Azalea and Thomas kindle an affectionate relationship, and she tells him what she knows of her life story.As Thomas and Azalea become closer, they deliberate and examine the theories surrounding coincidence, luck, synchronicity all the different and loaded words and beliefs that it entails Thomas insists on the element of free will and randomness, and edifies Azalea on theories of determinism and providence, among other arguments Azalea is open to the possibility of a master controller, or divine intervention Thomas trusts the scientific principles as explanation, although he is compassionate and sensitive to Azalea s position Ultimately, he disregards the idea of a non random influence coincidences aren t the responsibility of any malign force or even benign force They re just things that happen from time to time That s all Ironmonger s euphonious narrative seamlessly alternates different time periods from 1982 to 2012, weaving in disparate events and settings From the Isle of Man, to Uganda during the brutal civil war, and present day London, the author constructs a riveting, page turning story that will appeal to readers of popular and literary fiction Although the framework of coincidence calls attention to the mechanics of plot design, it is accomplished with subtlety Occasionally, it veers into over deliberation, but when it does, it is brief and doesn t deter from its credibility As June 21st draws near, the story becomesandintoxicating.Addendum What a coincidence this is the second novel in a row that I read which remarks on the inherent problems of quantum mechanics, and how the observer affects what is being observed

  7. says:

    Sometimes, I need a feel good book The weather has been cold and crappy, and a belligerent, narcissistic tangerine just took the oath of office, so I figured I was due for a hopeful book, a big oatmeal cookie, a cup of tea and a hot water bottle.John Ironmonger writes quirky, clever books He is an unusual novelist but he knows human nature The Coincidence Authority asks a simple question is everything that happens to us a series of coincidences or is everything pre determined by a mechanis Sometimes, I need a feel good book The weather has been cold and crappy, and a belligerent, narcissistic tangerine just took the oath of office, so I figured I was due for a hopeful book, a big oatmeal cookie, a cup of tea and a hot water bottle.John Ironmonger writes quirky, clever books He is an unusual novelist but he knows human nature The Coincidence Authority asks a simple question is everything that happens to us a series of coincidences or is everything pre determined by a mechanism we can t understand Thomas is a scientist who has an unusual specialty debunking so called coincidences by demonstrating that statistics and the human brain s natural tendency to search for patterns in everything is what creates what we perceive as serendipity or destiny Azalea is a woman who s entire life has been influences by a series of highly improbable events She goes to Thomas to try and find an explanation behind the tragedies she has been plagued by her entire life.The non linear narrative structure can feel a little messy, but Ironmonger is very good at pacing he keeps things interesting and suspenseful the whole way, even when you have no idea where he is going He also throws quite a bit of theoretical science at his readers with The Coincidence Authority I personally find it fascinating to read about the Billiard Ball theory, but I can see how it could get a bit grating for some people.The love story is predictable, but not easy I m not sure how to explain that, but just like real budding relationships, there are issues, snags and conflicts between Thomas and Azalea They were, in a sense, two solitary people who had become used to their own company, relaxed in their own company, but who longed nonetheless for another heart to beat alongside their own Introverts will go aaaww.I have read all of Ironmonger s books in the reverse order in which they were published, come to think of it and I always finish them feeling a bittersweet fuzziness, because they are sweet but also deep and never go where I thought they would This little book is about the age old debate of faith vs science, the cosmic roll of the dice vs things happening for a specific reason And like that age old debate, it doesn t give you an answer, nor does it seek to make you believe in one possibility or another I think Ironmonger simply wants to tell a story to remind people to not worry so much about that particular question and enjoy life a little.Read it Let your lip curl into a little smile Feel a little bit better regardless of the surrealy fucked up place the world is now in Take a break from the big questions for 300 pages

  8. says:

    A Novel Approach to StorytellingThis enjoyable British novel gripped me throughout, largely because of its unusual approach to storytelling My friends and I often make a game of picking out those moments you sometimes find in fiction when an author inserts a blatant coincidence or plot contrivance to help the story along Generally, it is laziness and shows disrespect for the reader But here is an author who uses coincidence as his main constructive principle, and builds a story around it And A Novel Approach to StorytellingThis enjoyable British novel gripped me throughout, largely because of its unusual approach to storytelling My friends and I often make a game of picking out those moments you sometimes find in fiction when an author inserts a blatant coincidence or plot contrivance to help the story along Generally, it is laziness and shows disrespect for the reader But here is an author who uses coincidence as his main constructive principle, and builds a story around it And it works, it works superbly.Azalea Lewis is plagued by coincidence Although adopted and, she thinks, an orphan, she meets not one but two men claiming to be her father, both of whom are blind Significant events in her life seem to take place on Midsummer Day, ten years apart A chance encounter also makes her collide literally with the one man in England who considers himself an expert in coincidence, the London University psychologist Thomas Post She believes that strange things happen for a reason he can prove that coincidences are either less statistically unlikely than commonly assumed, or else the result of outside manipulation if a coin comes up heads five times in a row, it is unusual but not impossible fifty times, and it is almost certainly weighted Their discussions about these matters are fascinating, not just because of the examples that Thomas produces, but because they raise deeper issues of determinism, faith, and free will.The book begins as a mystery, when the four year old Azalea is found abandoned in a Devonshire fairground, and the police search in vain for further clues Ironmonger caught my intention from the very first page, because of his apparently objective style that nonetheless leaves no doubt that he is in control of what he will reveal when I thought especially of Jim Crace s writing in Being Dead. Later, as the connections ramify, I thought of Penelope Lively s interest in the apparently arbitrary linkages between events in books such asConsequencesor How It All Began. I also thought of Kate Atkinson in Life After Life, although Ironmonger never goes so far as to multiply alternate realities like she does But there is a particularly easygoing kind of narrative in all these British authors that I could see in Ironmonger too, especially once the genre shifted towards romance.Ironmonger was born in East Africa, and the action returns there for several scenes, to the West Nile region of Uganda, on the border with South Sudan This is the region terrorized by Joseph Kony and his Lord s Resistance Army, one of whose tactics is to abduct children from schools and force them into soldiering or childbearing, inflicting terrible mutilations on those who attempt to escape A coincidence, since I have just been reading Susan Minot s recent novel Thirty Girls, about the very same subject Ironmonger is thesuccessful of the two, I think, because he has the wisdom not to go deeper into the Kony story than he can handle, and not to risk making the affairs of his Western characters seem trivial by comparison.Although in this instance touching on a major humanitarian issue, Coincidence makes no claims to be an earth shattering book Instead, it is intelligent, artfully constructed, and warm Nowhere did I admire itthan in its final pages, set back in Uganda, when the author abandons the conventions of romance and quite avoids melodramatic denouement Instead, he offers an ending that is satisfying both in philosophical and in human terms, warmed by the wisdom of another character who has lived through it all and has made his own peace

  9. says:

    This book has to go on my favorite list I m so glad I found this author this is his first novel published in the United States, and hopefully there will beto come So now that I told you that, let me tell you about the story A toddler, maybe three years old, is found wandering around a fairground at night in Devon, England Her family can t be found, but through questioning her, she tells them that her name is Azalea and that her mother is taking her to see her daddy on a boat They try This book has to go on my favorite list I m so glad I found this author this is his first novel published in the United States, and hopefully there will beto come So now that I told you that, let me tell you about the story A toddler, maybe three years old, is found wandering around a fairground at night in Devon, England Her family can t be found, but through questioning her, she tells them that her name is Azalea and that her mother is taking her to see her daddy on a boat They try to find her family, but after months go by they drop the ball and when a woman s body washes up on the coast line not far from where she was found, no one connects the dots to Azalea who is now adopted Her adopted parents bring her to a small village in Uganda where they are taking over the Holy Tabernacle Mission of Saint Paul a school that helps the villager s children and orphans When a Ugandan rebel uprising hits their compound Azalea loses her parents again Her life is a series of coincidences and missed communication, so when as an adult, she accidentally meets Professor Thomas Post whose specialty is debunking coincidences, she asks him what he thinks of her life and if a certain date that surrounds her families untimely deaths is bad luck or divine providence The date is fast approaching and the answer could mean her death This is an outstanding mystery by J.W Ironmonger it held me captive right till the last page Seeing Africa, where he was raised, through his eyes was a pleasure and heart breaking at the same time 5 stars

  10. says:

    Original review found at I received an advanced readers copy from Harper Perennial via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Coincidence is a truly unique and interesting tale of one woman and the circumstances that surround her life It is at times funny, haunting, tragic and beautiful The synopsis is extremely detailed perhaps too detailed so I won t re tell the story but I will say that the events of Azalea s life and before are nothing shor Original review found at I received an advanced readers copy from Harper Perennial via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Coincidence is a truly unique and interesting tale of one woman and the circumstances that surround her life It is at times funny, haunting, tragic and beautiful The synopsis is extremely detailed perhaps too detailed so I won t re tell the story but I will say that the events of Azalea s life and before are nothing short of unbelievable Ironmonger does a spectacular job of weaving in and out of each story flawlessly I was drawn to Azalea s back story in particular her time in Africa Although fictional, I was deeply haunted by the interactions with the LRA and Joseph Kony We all know who he is after a very broad Internet campaign against him in 2012, so to read about him even in a fictional setting was very eerie for lack of better words Azalea s present story with Thomas was good but I did not enjoy it quite as much as when the book took us back Their dialogue was sometimes too intellectual and wordy, leaving me slightly bored at times I did however like the two of them together and was hopeful that they would have a positive outcome Admittedly, I had no idea how the story would end or if Azalea s predictions would come true which kept me glued to the pages If you are looking for a well written book full of a large cast of unforgettable characters and a unique storyline then I would highly recommend picking this book up I am very happy and thankful to have had the opportunity to read it before the release date As a side note There is a bunch of information about Joseph Kony at the end of the book that is worth reading if you don t know much about him and his organization I really hope that it is included in the final published version as it is very informative

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