Book Review: "The Fates Will Find Their Way" by Hannah Pittard

Summary from Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence.

As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically. A collection of rumors, divergent suspicions, and tantalizing what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.

Told in haunting, percussive prose, Hannah Pittard's beautifully crafted novel tracks the emotional progress of the sister Nora left behind, the other families in their leafy suburban enclave, and the individual fates of the boys in her thrall. Far more eager to imagine Nora's fate than to scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into an adulthood of jobs, marriages, families, homes, and daughters of their own, all the while pining for a girl–and a life–that no longer exists, except in the imagination.

A masterful literary debut that shines a light into the dream-filled space between childhood and all that follows, The Fates Will Find Their Way is a story about the stories we tell ourselves–of who we once were and may someday become.

This isn't normally the type of book that I would pick up but I'm so glad that I did.

The main focus of the story is on Nora and what happened after she disappeared. Part of the book follows her life after her disappearance, the family she raised, the lovers she had and the experiences she went through. The other half of the book focuses on the people left behind in her hometown, the ones that heard about her disappearance and how it affected them for the rest of their lives. The setting is small town suburbia where everyone knows everyone. Even though Nora is no longer a part of their lives physically, she's still there haunting everyone in their memories. I don't have any brothers so I didn't know what it was like to grow up with boys but from this story, I would say that Pittard has entered the mind of male and portrayed it very well.

The book is written in first person plural which is another style of writing that takes me a while to get used to. However it first perfectly for the story and gives the reader an insider's look into the viewpoints of the characters. There is several instances of strong cursing as well as sexual situations in this book but I feel that they help move the story forward and are not thrown in casually.

Overall, this is a beautiful and haunting book about lost innocence, growing up and always wondering "what if". There's no tidy conclusion to the story, but life isn't always have a neat and happy ending. The prose flows fast and you get sucked into the story right from the beginning. It's a wonderful read and I encourage those to step out of their normal comfort zone and pick up this extraordinary book.

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard is published by Ecco (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


  1. I am dying to read this one -- have heard such wonderful things!

  2. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I have seen some great reviews of this book. Decided that it was the perfect one to use a special coupon that I had. Thanks for sharing!


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