BOOKTALK// The Coincidence Authority by John Ironmonger

22591505One 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 Lewycka.

Thomas 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 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.

Publisher: Phoenix

Publication Date: 14th March 2012 (HB)

Pages: 304

Acquisition: Sent to book store for review


A startlingly intelligent, well crafted read brimming with sweetness and wonder.

Azalea Ives believes in coincidence, fate and destiny. Dr Thomas Post believes in the laws of large numbers and randomness and chance. Polar opposites drawn together in a random world. A seemingly perfect setting for an all out fluffy love story. But it is more than a love story; it is a mystery and also a glimpse into how random the world can be. Told in flash backs and flash forwards, from Africa to London to Devon and back again, we learn about Azalea’s secret, seemingly coincidental past and the key to her future. Is it with Tom, or are her coincidences about to catch up with her?

Azalea is so brilliantly drawn that, from the word go, it is impossible to not fall head over heels in love with her. She has a way about her that draws you to her, a special quirk that makes you want to get to know her. It is a similar situation with Thomas, though to a much lesser degree. His assuredness is something to both be admired and annoyed by as it comes easily in some areas and not so much in others. He is sure that coincidences don’t exist and voices that, but it is only in his head that he manages to say his true feelings about Azalea, and some of those quotes are truly heart melting.

This brilliant take on the old opposites attract/boy meets girl story. It will make you gasp, chuckle heartily and smile like a goofball at this lovely literary pair! Think ‘The Rosie Project’ (which I reviewed earlier on this year) but with an added something that makes it extra special! Surprisingly exciting and very funny!



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