on 8 September 2010
Coincidance was first published in 1988. As RAW lived in Dublin, Ireland, for six years during the 1980's, there is a strong Gaelic flavour throughout the book. RAW examines the work of Irish author James Joyce, and publishes for the first time an interview with the legendary Irish statesman Sean MacBride. However, Coincidance is also a collection of RAW essays and even a few poems, written over a thirty year period and collected from such diverse sources as The Realist, Playboy, No Governor, Science Digest, and Fortean Times. Topics covered include synchronicity and conspiracy, religion and physics, the CIA and the Knights of Malta. Individuals discussed include Eleanor of Aquitaine, J.R. `Bob' Dobbs, Albert Einstein, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Hill, Anton Lavey, Stagger Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Ezra Pound, the Marquis de Sade, Kerry Thornley, and Tennessee Williams.
Perhaps the best way to indicate what RAW has to offer is simply to use a direct quote from Coincidance - `The "paranormal" aspect of synchronicities...can be "explained" in various ways, including the Fundamentalist Materialist's favourite non-explanation or pseudo-explanation - mere coincidence'.
A previous reviewer thought that RAW wrote Coincidance `entirely in E-prime' (a form of language where the verb `to be' and its variations are not used). Unfortunately, this is not correct. Parts of Coincidance make use of the E-prime concept, but many of the chapters were originally written as stand alone essays or as sections in other books, and some chapters were written decades before others.
Like all RAW books, however, Coincidance is loaded with real information that can actually alter brain software if processed adequately. For anyone genuinely interested in meta-programming her or his own reality map, this book is a must-read.
on 8 April 1997
In Coincidance Wilson dissects Joyce, and intersects that with political, sociological, philosophical and theo/asophical essays. The entire book has rapier wit and style, but don't miss the Ode to the Divine Marquis De Sade. The entire books is worth just that.
This is what got me started on Wilson; I'll never regret it.
on 28 May 1998
A caveat: while this book, like most of Wilson's works, rates a 10 (with me), this probably belongs in the advanced course, and might be beyond people who've never read Wilson before. If you don't know his style, his philosophies and his history, you might get lost in the muck. But, if you've at least made it through his "Illuminatus!" and "Prometheus Rising," then give it a shot. (Reading "Finnegan's Wake" also helps, but you won't have to in order to follow his analyses.)
Describable as one of Wilson's more straightforward exegises, "Coincidance" deals directly with concepts of quantum physics, Joycean symbolism and the "reality is what you can get away with" school of thought.
Bonus points, Wilson wrote this book entirely in "E-Prime," a variation of English with one subtle but significant difference. (In fact, I've written this entire review in "E-Prime" as well. The only exception appears in the quote above, a repeat of the title of one of Wilson's fictional works. Perhaps, if you figure out what makes "E-Prime" different, you might be ready to read "Coincidance" right now...)
on 22 May 2011
I should start by saying that I am a big fan of RAW and have read pretty much everything by him available in print. And whilst Coincidance is a worthy read for any RAW fan it seems to me to be rather a mixed bag.
I do not shared RAW's fanaticism for Finnegan's Wake. And whilst he references FW in many of his works, there are large sections of Coincidance that are nothing more than RAW's attempt to link FW with...well quite frankly everything.
Coincidance contains an assortment of RAW's published and somewhat hard to find pieces. Throw in to this a whole chapter culled from his Illuminati Chronicles (with a bit of cut-up thrown in to the mix) and you hvw what for me reads like the good, the bad and the indifferent.
One for RAW fans only, especially the FW fanatics.