A series of coincidences propel the narrative of The Sun Is Also a Star. While these coincidences seem random on the surface, they support the novel’s themes about the relationship between fate and determinism and how choices, purpose, and perspective blend to shape a person’s life.
A passage from one of Natasha’s chapters meditates on this interplay between choice and fate as she struggles to deal with her family’s upcoming deportation:
Everything happens for a reason. This is a thing people say. My mom says it a lot. “Things happen for a reason, Tasha.”…People says these things to make sense of the world...No one wants to believe that life is random.
As the story progresses, events reveal that these are not mere coincidences but the results of decisions by characters who are concerned about their future, searching for their purpose in life, and taking action based on the choices they make.
The novel presents tantalizing questions: if Natasha had not decided to make an appointment with Attorney Fitzgerald, or if Daniel had not taken the train with the religious conductor, would they have met? If Irene had not received Natasha’s message, how would her life have turned out?
The novel's multiple perspectives make it an engaging read. The reader learns what Natasha and Daniel are thinking at each point of the plot but also learn the stories of Irene, Attorney Fitzgerald, the paralegal, and the Kingsley and Bae parents, understanding how each person fits into the story. Finally, the universe itself provides an omniscient point of view, supplying definitions, objectivity, and the big picture that surrounds the human characters.
This larger picture is presented in the chapter “Multiverses: A Quantum History," in which the omniscient narrator addresses the reader and explains how decisions create chains of events in new universes:
For every event at the quantum level, the current universe splits into multiple universes. This means that for every choice you make, an infinite number of universes exist in which you made a different choice.
The universe also supports Natasha’s mother in the chapter “Fate: A History."
Things happens for a reason, says Natasha’s mother. What she means is, Fate has a Reason, and though you may not know it, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that there’s a Plan.
Note the capitalization of fate, reason, and plan. This indicates that deterministic Natasha will have to take a leap of faith toward an unknown future.
From the larger view of this universe looking at the characters living in it, the seemingly random coincidences have a structure to them. Based on the story’s internal logic—that decisions lead to action based on a deeper reason—Natasha and Daniel’s first encounter and subsequent choices will then result in them both going to the same office and the meetings that will set the course for their futures.