Jerry Travis's Reviews > Coincidences

Coincidences by Maria Savva
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's review
Nov 13, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: everyone
Read in April, 2009

"Coincidences" is a very interesting and thought provoking story centering around a young woman's search for her identity. Alice begins by merely trying, against the objections of her mother, to locate her father. He had abandoned them both when she was a baby. An old and haunting faded photograph of her smiling father holding her in his arms is one of the few bits of information she begins with. Little does she know her endeavor will lead her down a road of layer upon layer of deception and deceit. Just about when she thinks she knows who she is, she discovers a whole new realm of hidden truths.

One of the things I found interesting about this book is that there's no antagonist in the classical sense. All the characters involved have some depth of moral character, and no doubt would view themselves as "good" people. Nevertheless, they create a situation that turns Alice's life into a living hell. Their lies, justified in their own minds to "protect" her, only serve to disillusion and shake Alice's confidence in all her relationships as she slowly discovers the truth about herself. Like pealing away the layers of an onion, what will Alice find underneath it all? Will she even be able to deal with the reality of who and what she is, when she finally gets to the core? And will there be any silver lining to her investigations, or would she been better off to listen to her mother and never have started down this path in the first place?

This unusual work shows how people, though they may mean well, can create a web of duplicity that traps both themselves and all those around them. I admired Maria's honesty about how people think, and are constantly manipulating the truth to produce some desired effect. It's so automatic and fundamental to human nature that we may not even realize it as we're doing it. And more importantly, she shows how those "short-term gains" often come back to bite us, even if it takes many years. Maria's insight into human relationships is both entertaining and educational.

I found Maria's descriptions of the anguish Alice goes through to be so realistic it has lead me to question whether she has experienced these things herself, or through someone close to her. Alice's anxiety, self-doubt, wishful thinking and at times even her evasion of the obvious is very engaging. This is a down to earth and a very human story.

After reading this book, I'm going to have to read Maria Savva's next and more popular work, "A Time to Tell." I realize that most readers will have read that book first. I'm sure those who enjoyed "A Time to Tell" will enjoy "Coincidences" as well.
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