Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Fates Will Find Their Way - Hannah Pittard

The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard, Ecco, 2011

No one knows what happened to Nora Lindell. The teenager went missing one Halloween night, never to be seen again. Her unexplained disappearance becomes a watershed moment in the life of the community, especially for the male classmates she leaves behind, capturing their imaginations and marking the beginning of their transition to adulthood.

The Fates Will Find Their Way, told by an unnamed narrator on behalf of a group of teenage boys, is as much about belonging, and how we claim those with whom we grow up, as it is about Nora Lindell's fate. Over the years, the stories the boys make up for themselves evolve, projecting their own hopes and agendas into the mythology - was she a runaway pregnant teen? perhaps abducted by stranger in car? living and dying in a foreign place? The boys, now adults, reflect that she perhaps she had deliberately left them behind, and wonder if they were they somehow lacking, or to blame. Revisiting her story and attempting to piece together the clues becomes a way of staying connected into adulthood, until events and changes in their own lives allow them to lay their wondering to rest.

Pittard writes wonderfully: her style is both accessible and beautifully expressive, impressively detailed, and the story kept me engaged from the moment I picked it up. If I had had the time, I would probably have finished it in one sitting. I loved all the characters and thought the choice of speaking from the viewpoint of a collective of boys was both inventive and key to conveying how the event impacted an entire community. I also thought the novel explored with great sensitivity how boys and men may perceive and react to violence against the girls and women that they know, and how they experience their own changing roles over time.

Very highly recommended read.

Happy reading!


  1. This sounds very similar (structurally) to The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, with the teenage boy "chorus" telling the haunting story of three sisters who kill themselves. Interesting. I wonder if it came out before or after and if there are other similarities.

  2. I believe I have heard others make that comparison as well. This is just recently out (January), it would be very interesting to look at that question more closely. Perhaps a revisit of Virgin Suicides is in order.

  3. Great review!
    I read a really wierd book this week -- check out my review and let me know what you think:

  4. Thanks so much for the visit! Sounds intriguing, will check it out.

  5. This sounds like a book I would absolutely love. My favorite books are the ones you can't put down until you're finished. It's definitely on my reading list now!

  6. I hope you enjoy it- would love to hear what you think after you read it :D


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