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The Fates Will Find Their Way PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Fates Will Find Their Way
Author: Hannah Pittard
Publisher: Published January 25th 2011 by Ecco
ISBN: 9780061996054
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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

30 review for The Fates Will Find Their Way

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    The Fates Will Find Their Way is Hannah Pittard's debut novel published in 2011. A group of middle aged men who went to the same private school and now live in the same neighborhood as adults are unable to move past the disappearance of classmate Nora Lindell when they were sixteen. This novel is a look back on the what ifs and a reflection on their own lives. Written in a collective voice so we hear from the entire group of friends, we get to know everyone's opinion on what happened to Nora. No The Fates Will Find Their Way is Hannah Pittard's debut novel published in 2011. A group of middle aged men who went to the same private school and now live in the same neighborhood as adults are unable to move past the disappearance of classmate Nora Lindell when they were sixteen. This novel is a look back on the what ifs and a reflection on their own lives. Written in a collective voice so we hear from the entire group of friends, we get to know everyone's opinion on what happened to Nora. Nora Lindell disappeared on Halloween night when she was sixteen. Thirty years later her friends believe she might still be alive. Half myth and half circumstantial evidence, the gang recalls seeing her at a Houston airport, in Arizona, in Mumbai, India at the time of the bombings, and perhaps back in Arizona a second time. To fill in the gaps of time, the group creates alternate realities in which Nora is alive and enjoying life to fullest. They do not reflect on how her loss has affected her sister Sissy or her father, and assume that Nora has lived a life that they could only imagine in their wildest dreams. Meanwhile in their middle Atlantic suburb, the men have gotten married and had kids. They host epic pool parties, barbecues, and holiday gatherings. After thirty years they still meet at the same bar once a week to shoot the breeze. Some have gotten divorced, some never married, and all have faced the same issues that occur in the course of life. Yet, the one event that cements their friendship is still Nora Lindell's disappearance thirty years before. A few of men having problems in their relationships still reminisce about Nora and what if I could have married her instead. Such is the reality of living in suburbia amongst the same group of friends for one's entire life. I admit that The Fates Will Find Their Way is not the type of book that I generally read. I enjoy character driven novels with lots of action that does not allow for the characters to reflect on life. Pittard, in her debut, has painted a bleak picture on moving through life. Indirectly she is telling us to look toward the future rather than dwell on the past despite all of the what ifs. A first novel, she got inspiration from many of her real life friends and colleagues and even included her mentor's obituary in its pages when the journey through life required one be published. If this was Pittard's debut effort, I am curious to read her other novels and hope they are more polished. This is not a genre I generally read yet the novel was thought provoking and allowed me to read quickly to find out if Nora Lindell is alive or not. I enjoyed being on the protagonists' life journey and appreciated their bleak story to be fast reading. A unique premise for a story, I rate Hannah Pittard's debut novel 3.5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate Woods Walker

    Finely-crafted fiction that ultimately left me unsatisfied, The Fates Will Find Their Way was more performance art than story, more ambience than psychological insight, more melancholy goo than piercing insight. Many have compared Hannah Pittard's use of the first-person plural narration to The Virgin Suicides, and so did I, even before I read a single review, and despite having never read Jeffrey Eugenides's book. Perhaps it was a deliberate answer to the 1993 book, but to what purpose I cannot Finely-crafted fiction that ultimately left me unsatisfied, The Fates Will Find Their Way was more performance art than story, more ambience than psychological insight, more melancholy goo than piercing insight. Many have compared Hannah Pittard's use of the first-person plural narration to The Virgin Suicides, and so did I, even before I read a single review, and despite having never read Jeffrey Eugenides's book. Perhaps it was a deliberate answer to the 1993 book, but to what purpose I cannot say. There is death, attempted suicide, sex crime and upper-middle class angst aplenty in this work, but the overarching hazy cynicism was so off-putting I could find no reason for the telling, or the imagining, of Nora Lindell's story. I admired this book's bones, but not it's heart.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Without knowing anything about the author or the "buzz" for this book, I felt after reading it that it's destined to be a darling of the critics and end up on a lot of "Best of 2011" lists. My first problem is that it kept reminding me over and over of a much better book; Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides. Like that book, it's short, it's got a kind of dreamlike tone to it, the catalytic tragic event involving a teenage girl takes place in roughly the same era (the mid-1970s), the upper-cla Without knowing anything about the author or the "buzz" for this book, I felt after reading it that it's destined to be a darling of the critics and end up on a lot of "Best of 2011" lists. My first problem is that it kept reminding me over and over of a much better book; Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides. Like that book, it's short, it's got a kind of dreamlike tone to it, the catalytic tragic event involving a teenage girl takes place in roughly the same era (the mid-1970s), the upper-class suburban setting is similar, the unusual collective first-person narration by a group of boys/men from the distance of time is similar, and perhaps most importantly, like The Virgin Suicides, the book doesn't seek to provide answers. I'm not suggesting that this debut copies that one in any way, merely that it was so reminiscent of it (especially in tone), that I couldn't read it without constantly thinking of the Virgin Suicides. What happens is that one Halloween in roughly the mid-1970s, Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell goes missing. The book spins out the consequences of this disappearance both in the direct lives of her family (especially her younger sister Sissy) as well as in the collective unconscious (and conscious, not to mention conscience) of the kids and parents in the neighborhood. The book unfolds in brief chapters progressing through time. Some of these offer a speculative story of Nora's life after the disappearance, while the others follow the neighborhood boys through the rest of high school and on into adulthood and middle age. The book does a nice job of capturing how groups of friends can return over and over to retell or dissect pivotal shared experiences form the past. However, it's very much about the group and how the group interacts and the idea of collective memory -- there aren't really any individual characters here to get invested in. The short chapters have the sparse, honed feel of fiction that has been "crafted" rather than written, always teetering on the brink of preciousness. I suppose in the end, I felt like the second-person voice and episodic vignettes were a carefully calibrated attempt to reach some kind of emotional truth, and for me that attempt failed. Results may vary -- I can easily imagine myself reading this back when I was in college and loving it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I did not like this book. At all. Not one bit. I cannot find one minute piece of redeeming value in it. The sad thing is that I expected to enjoy it; as one of the book review blogs I read listed it as one of their favorite books they will probably read all year. First of all, the narrator(s) of the book are a group of men, who grew up together and had one of their classmates disappear while they were in high school. And then they were obsessed with her the rest of their life (or at least for the I did not like this book. At all. Not one bit. I cannot find one minute piece of redeeming value in it. The sad thing is that I expected to enjoy it; as one of the book review blogs I read listed it as one of their favorite books they will probably read all year. First of all, the narrator(s) of the book are a group of men, who grew up together and had one of their classmates disappear while they were in high school. And then they were obsessed with her the rest of their life (or at least for the rest of the book). So early on in the book there is all this sexual, horny high school boy stuff. And the whole book is just dark. And depressing. And for the whole book they are just guessing what they think happened to her. But they don't actually know. And they **SPOILER ALERT** never actually find out! So the whole book felt like a waste. Plus the book was not written chronologically, so it was jumping all over the place and I was so confused. It would always be saying "but this is 5 years before such and such" and "10 years after such and such" sometimes referencing things they hadn't fully explained. ARG. Anyway, hated this book. Least favorite book ever. I only read the whole thing because it was only 240 pages and I probably invested less than 4 hours of my life into it. Worth it to be able to write negative review. DO NOT READ THIS.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Allard

    I'm not sure if I "really liked" this book, but I know that I "really liked" the writing. There are beautiful sentences and imagery and ideas strung out here. There is a kind of twinkling to Pittard's prose. ("It is that pink time of night. It's that time of night just before our wives come to bed. We can hear them rummaging about in the kitchen beneath us, turning off lights, returning a stray dish to its rightful place in the cabinet, giving the dog a final treat. ...where the streetlights fli I'm not sure if I "really liked" this book, but I know that I "really liked" the writing. There are beautiful sentences and imagery and ideas strung out here. There is a kind of twinkling to Pittard's prose. ("It is that pink time of night. It's that time of night just before our wives come to bed. We can hear them rummaging about in the kitchen beneath us, turning off lights, returning a stray dish to its rightful place in the cabinet, giving the dog a final treat. ...where the streetlights flicker to life, the air is lavender, effervescent.") My gripe—and it's really only a personal opinion—is the execution of the novel. Everyone is comparing its use of the collective to The Virgin Suicides, and that is kind of unavoidable seeing as how both novels deal with the male consciousness as directed, in dreamlike quality, toward the female mystery. Clearly, it was powerful in the former, but I actually think that delivery did Fates a disservice. I see why it was done, but, like all of the maybes the book supposes, I wonder what shape this might have taken told in another way. And I couldn't quite believe the fixation on Nora—regardless of the unfinished feeling her disappearance may have left—after all of the years. I wasn't convinced. Still, I would recommend this, especially, to book clubs. And again, the prose is beautiful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Schmacko

    Hmm. This is a novel by a young woman who imagines a chorus of suburban boys – perverted, imaginative, creepy – as narrators. Everything here is told in first person plural. “We were creeps,” “We went to Danny’s basement apartment,” “We wondered what happened to her.” It’s a nifty effect for a short story, but over the long haul of a novel, it presents problems. We quit caring. The narrators become two-dimensional, hollow. The boys – six or seven, I’ve lost count – live in a nondescript suburb aro Hmm. This is a novel by a young woman who imagines a chorus of suburban boys – perverted, imaginative, creepy – as narrators. Everything here is told in first person plural. “We were creeps,” “We went to Danny’s basement apartment,” “We wondered what happened to her.” It’s a nifty effect for a short story, but over the long haul of a novel, it presents problems. We quit caring. The narrators become two-dimensional, hollow. The boys – six or seven, I’ve lost count – live in a nondescript suburb around, I think, the late 1970s. One Halloween when they are all roughly 16, neighborhood beauty Nora Lindell goes missing. She’s the girl they’ve all lusted after (and maybe slept with, though they usually tell each other details of every conquest.) From there, the boys grow older and older; other than that they don’t change or develop much. Each man possesses only superficial things that separate him from the others – no deep conflicts, no burning quests, no passionate dichotomies. This chorus of boys imagines Nora’s life or death based on the gossip that swirls around her, rumors that they cull from their and their mothers’ suburban lives. Was Nora murdered? Did she get raped? Was she pregnant and ashamed, fleeing to Arizona, and then to other places across the globe? All of the possibilities are thin, mythical, and even somewhat unbelievable. Because boys are making this up – imagining where they lack concrete information – this approach works for many of these tangents away from the boys’ lives. The problems are the boys. Their individual biographies should be rendered in full color, without sinking to some blanket stereotype that all boys are oversexed and under-civilized. In fact, that’s not the only sweeping generality about these poor boys. One of them has zits, smokes weed, has family tragedies. Another cheats on his wife. One of them is criminally sexually perverted. Other than those label-y descriptors, I couldn’t tell any of these young men apart. There is a sense here that young author Hannah Pittard is searching for universal clarity. She is attempting to get into the collective heads of American teenaged boys, trying to represent them as a culture. She struggles to understand. But by her thinning them into a single “we” voice, she misses the point that each human – even a “pervert” teenaged boy – is an individual with unique wants, needs, viewpoints, and follies. It’s not like the girls or the parents are treated that much better, in fact. Perhaps inspired by her “we” approach, everyone here is rendered a bit wispy and uninteresting. It’s also not as if Pittard lacks a talent for words; descriptions of places are so vivid that you can draw maps in your head. She just hasn’t yet learned that her worlds need to be populated with real people, human souls we readers can care about.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    This was an odd yet beautifully written book that has worked its way into my mind and really left me thinking. I'm grateful to Rakesh Satyal, one of my Facebook friends (and author of the fabulous Blue Boy), who recommended this book last week, as I don't know if I would have heard about it otherwise. One Halloween, 16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears. No one really knows what happened to her, although a group of boys who went to school with her have a number of theories, given random rumors and This was an odd yet beautifully written book that has worked its way into my mind and really left me thinking. I'm grateful to Rakesh Satyal, one of my Facebook friends (and author of the fabulous Blue Boy), who recommended this book last week, as I don't know if I would have heard about it otherwise. One Halloween, 16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears. No one really knows what happened to her, although a group of boys who went to school with her have a number of theories, given random rumors and alleged sightings they've heard about. Much like how the girls' deaths in The Virgin Suicides colored the lives of those around them, Nora's disappearance has the same ripple effect on these boys, shaping how they view, and act in, the future. They imagine different paths that Nora might have taken, and through the years, supposed Nora sightings occur in the most unlikely of places. As these boys become men, their obsession with all things Nora (and, to an extent, her younger sister, Sissy) saves them from being mired completely in the minutia of their own adulthood. For some, Nora's disappearance is a tiny catalyst that sets them on a self-destructive course that might not manifest itself for years; for others, it is the push toward saving themselves. This isn't just a book about a missing girl; this is a book about how the disappearance of a peer that many lusted after alters the course of lives in a small town. Hannah Pittard weaves an absolutely beautiful narrative thread, and while at times it is difficult to tell all of the characters apart, the story is at once compelling and off-putting. I don't ordinarily like books where the narrator imagines what happens to other characters rather than actually tells what happens, but in Pittard's hands, that exercise worked tremendously. And while I'd like to know what really did happen to Nora, somehow making up my own version of her story is as intriguing for me as it was for the boys. Really excellent book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah O'Dell

    Take the nostalgia of The Wonder Years, add the boys’ club feeling of The Sandlot, and mix in the dark and complicated narration of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides, and you will arrive at an approximation of the tenor of Hannah Pittard’s debut, The Fates Will Find Their Way. In a time that must be somewhere in the mid-Atlantic around the mid-1980s, a group of boys comes of age. Yet, in the midst of their growing up, a neighborhood girl, Nora Lindell, an object of their admiration, goes mis Take the nostalgia of The Wonder Years, add the boys’ club feeling of The Sandlot, and mix in the dark and complicated narration of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides, and you will arrive at an approximation of the tenor of Hannah Pittard’s debut, The Fates Will Find Their Way. In a time that must be somewhere in the mid-Atlantic around the mid-1980s, a group of boys comes of age. Yet, in the midst of their growing up, a neighborhood girl, Nora Lindell, an object of their admiration, goes missing on Halloween night. Her fate is never known. The boys — who later become young men, husbands, and fathers — are undeterred in their mental pursuit of her, spending their lives hypothesizing about Nora Lindell’s whereabouts. But while the boys take them as imaginary gospel truths, they are just that — ever-shifting hypotheses. Imagining Nora as the wife of an older Mexican man in Arizona, the narrator says, “Let’s say it was a summer day. One that was uncharacteristically hot, even for Arizona. It was like this — it had to be like this — because heat alone — isolated, confined — can make a person crazy, can turn a good thing bad, if only for a moment. And don’t forget that we like the Mexican. We like him because, like us, he loves Nora. He has cared for Nora and her two babies. So let’s say it was hot. Let’s say there was enough heat to excuse any sing, any crime, any transgression, just this once.” Beyond the hypothetical tone that permeates the entire novel, the most fascinating feature of this book is highlighted in the above passage — the use of a first person plural point of view. While the boys are named, the narrative voice transcends the point of view of any single young man; they are “we” as boys and “we” are adults. The narrative voice is none of them and all of them at the same time, perfectly expressing the follies of childhood from the safe distance of adulthood, "We were sophomores, newly sixteen, a year shy of missing Nora Lindell terribly. We were creeps, jerks, idiots. We were boys; we couldn’t help ourselves." Partially due to this narrative perspective, the novel lacks a linear plot. This isn’t a murder mystery. It isn’t a tale of boyhood adventure. Each chapter is more like a vignette, capturing a particular incident in this life of this group of friends — moments pushing them from childhood to the acceptance of their adulthood. And that’s really what the Nora Lindell obsession is about — a hesitance to let go of the things of childhood and grow up. Preferring to obsess on their youth, the men age and accept adult responsibilities without emotional maturation. This is a debut that, without a doubt, will catapult Pittard into the literary elite. It’s experimental and fresh without being self-conscious. The writing is impeccable … and exciting. This is a novel that creeps up on you in all the best ways. Pre-order a copy of this book! You won’t regret being among the first in your circle to devour this novel, and you’ll feel proud to have “discovered” this rare new talent!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    "In your endless summer night / I'll be on the other side. When you're beautiful and dying /All the world that you've denied ..." What does Hole's "Boys on the Radio" have to do with Hannah Pittard's The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel (besides me wishing I'd written them both)? To me, both Courtney Love & Hannah Pittard (or perhaps Billy Corgan for Courtney Love) perfectly evoke a sense of youthful longing that is so incredibly intense, it's hard to move past it. Pittard's novel chronicle "In your endless summer night / I'll be on the other side. When you're beautiful and dying /All the world that you've denied ..." What does Hole's "Boys on the Radio" have to do with Hannah Pittard's The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel (besides me wishing I'd written them both)? To me, both Courtney Love & Hannah Pittard (or perhaps Billy Corgan for Courtney Love) perfectly evoke a sense of youthful longing that is so incredibly intense, it's hard to move past it. Pittard's novel chronicles a group of suburban boys as they repeatedly fail at moving past this longing -- even into their adulthood. As others have mentioned, it's a novel dealing with imagined "what ifs" in response to a neighborhood girl's disappearance. Oh, but it's so, so much more than that, and it's incredibly frustrating that I can't even begin to come close to describing how beautiful this novel is. I should mention that the only reason I even picked this book up was because I saw it compared to The Virgin Suicides on two different sites. I read Eugenides' novel in 1999. It was such an ethereal & perfect read that I immediately categorized it as "one to save for a future re-read." I've yet to re-read it (I will soon!), but I can tell you that Pittard's novel comes extremely close to the perfection that is The Virgin Suicides. I want everyone to read The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel , seriously! If you're worried about it being depressing, just know that Pittard's look into the male adolescent brain is as funny as that scene in the junkyard in Stand By Me when the boys discuss Annette Funicello's "assets." I recalled that junkyard scene when reading one similar in tone in The Fates Will Find Their Way. The neighborhood boys contemplate the sexiness of one of their classmates' moms, and the narrator says this: "Mrs. Dinnerman was the hottest of all the moms. In some ways, it was a shame that she had to be called a mom at all. It seemed beneath her station." With zingers like this nestled on every few pages, how could you not love Hannah Pittard? This author is a keeper!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book reminded me so much of The Virgin Suicides in that the narrative is of boys who have since become men obsessing over two elusive girls: Nora and Sissy Lindell-Nora more than Sissy. They observe these girls too closely, obsess over them too deeply, while their wives are in the next room. They sit together and reminisce and they cling to Nora, who has been missing for years, wondering always what she has been up to all of these years- refusing to think too long upon what is probably true This book reminded me so much of The Virgin Suicides in that the narrative is of boys who have since become men obsessing over two elusive girls: Nora and Sissy Lindell-Nora more than Sissy. They observe these girls too closely, obsess over them too deeply, while their wives are in the next room. They sit together and reminisce and they cling to Nora, who has been missing for years, wondering always what she has been up to all of these years- refusing to think too long upon what is probably true: she's been dead since she went missing. The books is so human, and so unbelievably male, it's hard to believe that the author is female. She must understand the male psyche, or maybe she just made that version of the male psyche up, but it seemed foreign to me: the female reader... somehow accessible but impenetrable. I really enjoyed that the identity of the speaker was first person plural. If it was a singular member of the collective group of boys, then he is never named, and if he is the collective mind of all of the men, he is always an outsider and never informed of specifics. The narrator speculates and rarely specifies; remembers but not the whole story. This is why it's human. I hate when book narrators remember details that no "normal," human would remember such as exactly when and how and what colour the wallpaper was as it was hung. Nobody remembers the insignificant details, even if somehow in the future they will be important- we don't remember because we have no way to know that these details will matter. That's what I love about this book. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than human. I really loved this book although it was disturbing because it was disturbing in the way that real life can be disturbing and weird. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a break from the fantasy ridden shelves of the book store. To people who like a good story that is personal and yet other. Excellent read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    “None of us was stupid. We were just dreamers. Caught in the dream of the Lindells and what might have been.” There are plenty of books about missing teenagers. That’s certainly nothing new. But typically these narratives are focused on unraveling the mystery of what happened. In The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard takes a different approach: What if we never find out? What then? When 16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears from her cozy Mid-Atlantic town, the boys who knew and adored her ar “None of us was stupid. We were just dreamers. Caught in the dream of the Lindells and what might have been.” There are plenty of books about missing teenagers. That’s certainly nothing new. But typically these narratives are focused on unraveling the mystery of what happened. In The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard takes a different approach: What if we never find out? What then? When 16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears from her cozy Mid-Atlantic town, the boys who knew and adored her are left reeling — caught forever in the gravity of her absence. Without any concrete answers concerning Nora’s fate, they’re unable to ever find closure. Instead, they speculate on what might have happened to Nora, imagining a series of “what ifs” in the decades that follow. As the boys become men, they marry and buy homes and have children of their own, but there remains a part of them that never grows up, forever lost in the past, grieving for a girl who no longer exists. Pittard’s narrative style is both clever and befitting: the entire novel is told in first person plural — the tone haunting and ethereal, much like The Virgin Suicides. This is the first of Pittard’s three novels, and what’s most interesting to me after having read all of them is how distinct they are. Her range and versatility as a novelist is extremely impressive. My biggest complaint with this one is that with so many characters, it became difficult at times to keep track of them all. I can also see some readers finding the ending anti-climactic, though I was satisfied with the resolution. This complex, character-driven novel offers a fresh take on the common trope of the missing teenager, filled with plenty of Pittard’s signature psychological insights. Often in life we don’t get the catharsis of finding all the answers; The Fates Will Find Their Way is a meditation on this harsh truth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    A publishing friend sent me this last week and I read it in one go. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could but actually, how easily this book is read and how much I disengaged from it halfway through is a good indication of a weakness I keep seeing at goodreads: that a star system really does not work well for literature. Silly hardboilers a la Dan Brown, maybe, but not 'literary' fiction attempting to be serious. So I can't give this debut novel more than 2 stars here but does not mean I don't respect A publishing friend sent me this last week and I read it in one go. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could but actually, how easily this book is read and how much I disengaged from it halfway through is a good indication of a weakness I keep seeing at goodreads: that a star system really does not work well for literature. Silly hardboilers a la Dan Brown, maybe, but not 'literary' fiction attempting to be serious. So I can't give this debut novel more than 2 stars here but does not mean I don't respect the effort or I am not struck by the talent. Both are here and both i enjoyed. Problem is, this novel is a sure sign that flagging book publishing industry has followed Hollywood's exhausting example wherein in fear of not attracting readers and in a desire to attract as many readers as possible, writers either decide early only to 'copy' past bestsellers or are even blatantly suggested to do so by editors and agents. Take your pick, but there's no doubt that's what's going on here. Pittard is a good if not great or wholly original writer. I've read some of her published lit stories (I especially liked the one in Narrative mag) and I've no doubt her debut could have bean a poignant and strong though not wholly original novel. Instead, she's produced a good but not great, poignant but not strong version of Jeffrey Eugenide's 'The Virgin Suicides' --this time, written by a woman and not a man which, in my view, actually lessens the impact because, copying Eugenides as clearly as she does, she still takes on the third person POV from a MALE perspective. How silly is that! How much more original her unoriginality would have been if, say, she'd have given us a disappeared teenage BOY instead of a girl and disclosed the social context from the collective persopective of GIRLS/WOMEN!! Then, instead of seeing how thinly she is copying 'The Virgin Suicides' we'd see not copy, but an alternate vision. As it stands, this debut lacks steam toward the end and feels inconclusive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    The title comes from Virgil's THE AENEID (but of course!) and the premise is this: a 16-year-old girl named Nora Lindell, beloved of a gaggle of boys, disappears into fat air. The boys take to wondering -- in the first-person plural, for godssakes -- and a book called THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is born. First, the point of view. I have to invoke the name of Jay McInerney here, because I've read endless invective about his use of the second-person POV in BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. It has been cal The title comes from Virgil's THE AENEID (but of course!) and the premise is this: a 16-year-old girl named Nora Lindell, beloved of a gaggle of boys, disappears into fat air. The boys take to wondering -- in the first-person plural, for godssakes -- and a book called THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is born. First, the point of view. I have to invoke the name of Jay McInerney here, because I've read endless invective about his use of the second-person POV in BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. It has been called "precious," and "self-conscious," and "pretentious." This, the same point of view used in detective fiction yet! So I can only imagine the flak Hannah Pittard might get for using the "we" point of view for the boys in the band here. The teen-age lads left behind by a looker named Nora. So what's this book about? It's about what might have happened to Nora, according to this boy (and that). They love speculating, and each chapter provides different riffs, some more developed than others, some ending happily ever after and others... not. The point is, you learn more about the speculating boys than you do about the object of their speculation. But here the point of view starts to show its deleterious effects. "We" cannot possibly compete with "I" or "he" and "she" when it comes to familiarity. Thus, we never really get to know anyone due to the din of collective voices. I'm sure Pittard would say, "You're not supposed to; that's not my point," but as a reader, you might wish otherwise, so know thyself. I myself was less than convinced by the line-up of plot riffs about Nora. Supposedly the products of these young, hormone-rattled boy-brains, they smell suspiciously of a MFA-trained female's ink. But whatever. The writing is fine and, if you don't mind plotless books, the miniatures are pretty on their own. Collectively, it just doesn't hold together as well. Not bad and A for effort, the piece is at least an excuse to watch Pittard for her next outing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    switterbug (Betsey)

    This is a small concept book, very short and insular in premise, that deepens and reverberates eloquently. When a sixteen-year-old high school girl goes missing one Halloween from a "mid-Atlantic" (and obviously small) town, she is mythologized by the people she left behind, especially a group of her male peers. The narrative covers several decades, in a non-linear but succinct, crisp structure. The narrators are a group of voices that become one voice, a collective consciousness of sorts. The r This is a small concept book, very short and insular in premise, that deepens and reverberates eloquently. When a sixteen-year-old high school girl goes missing one Halloween from a "mid-Atlantic" (and obviously small) town, she is mythologized by the people she left behind, especially a group of her male peers. The narrative covers several decades, in a non-linear but succinct, crisp structure. The narrators are a group of voices that become one voice, a collective consciousness of sorts. The reader doesn't distinguish differences between the voices, which Pittard intended. I liked the concept in theory (the collective voice) but occasionally, in reading, the lack of discrete voices was understimulating. The missing girl, Nora Lindell, becomes more than herself. She morphs into an enigma, and eventually into a symbol of "a tally of the people who left us behind." Nora is merely a point of departure to explore and examine the lives of these boys, now men, who failed to live large, whose dreams were often squelched, and who sometimes made poor choices. Their fantasies of Nora's life or death after that Halloween are projections of their own private guilt, fears, diminished dreams, and desires. Nora herself alternately fades and hovers in the subconscious of these men's lives. She becomes their cherished avatar. The prose is economical and lovely, giving us a haunting coming-of-age story that is innovative and engaging. I did have a bit of a problem accepting that the voices were male, as it read as soft and female to me. I wasn't convinced that these disembodied voices were attached to male characters, and it became a weakness that occasionally removed me from the story's authenticity. (The gender is quite significant in the book's context and mood.) As a debut novel (really, novella), it is still an impressive and courageous accomplishment. A few wobbly parts, yes, but I am glad I read it, and look forward to watching this author mature.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to these kinds of books. And by "these kind" I mean books about the mystery of life and the ways in which we interact with one another, sometimes foolishly, sometimes passionately, sometimes blindly, but always with a deep desire to understand. This book is, at its core, about trying to understand. And it's wise enough to not present any answers, but instead suggest them. It's a beautiful, fever-dream of a book, collectively narrated by a group o As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to these kinds of books. And by "these kind" I mean books about the mystery of life and the ways in which we interact with one another, sometimes foolishly, sometimes passionately, sometimes blindly, but always with a deep desire to understand. This book is, at its core, about trying to understand. And it's wise enough to not present any answers, but instead suggest them. It's a beautiful, fever-dream of a book, collectively narrated by a group of boys who struggle to become men while groping with their teenage selves and the long shadows those years cast over the rest of their lives. Here's one of my favorite bits that really shows how wise and beautiful a writer Pittard is-- "...we thought about how little had happened in our lives, but how quickly the little that had happened had actually gone by. It was hard not to be angry with our bodies, with our aging. It was hard to believe that we'd actually gotten this far and not figured out a way to stop it, to pause life, to enjoy it. Hadn't our own fathers been counting on just that--on our ability to outlast what they couldn't?" Those sort of moments abound in this book. It's a book that sneaks up on you and sort of crushes you. Warning, it's a mystery, but there is no solution or real investigation, so if you're looking for a traditional crime novel, look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a brilliant novel about friends and the way life slips out of our grasp so quickly and how we struggle to make meaning, then this is a five star book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    A young girl goes missing. Did she get in a stranger’s car and if so did he aid or abate her escape? Did the car and its driver even exist? This is the first of many scenarios her classmates play through as they get busy with the task of growing up. Over the years their group stays geographically close and debatably emotionally tied together. Very few of them leave the small southern town where they were born; some raise their own families in the houses they lived in as children. Pittard takes u A young girl goes missing. Did she get in a stranger’s car and if so did he aid or abate her escape? Did the car and its driver even exist? This is the first of many scenarios her classmates play through as they get busy with the task of growing up. Over the years their group stays geographically close and debatably emotionally tied together. Very few of them leave the small southern town where they were born; some raise their own families in the houses they lived in as children. Pittard takes us through the high points of marriages, deaths, and careers for these kids with great skill but the main theme is Nora’s absence and its impact on her friends and family. They project what might have been in their own lives by speculating about Nora’s unknown future(s). This left me wondering about each individual’s importance within a group. It’s easy to assume it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether we personally exist. Maybe the real truth Pittard is getting at is how much impact we have on one another. “The Fates Will Find Their Way” is a very interesting debut novel with strong characterizations. This review is based on an advanced reading e-copy supplied by the publisher.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    6 out of 5. Holy shit I *loved* this book. A young woman goes missing on Halloween night and the boys of her town can't help but thinking of her over the course of the next 25-odd years. Told in first person plural / third person, it's a daringly structured novel (with a definite h/t to Tim O'Brien's IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS) but one that brings immense pleasures both in how that structure plays out and also in the little moments of individual lines. Pittard captures teenage boys becoming men bet 6 out of 5. Holy shit I *loved* this book. A young woman goes missing on Halloween night and the boys of her town can't help but thinking of her over the course of the next 25-odd years. Told in first person plural / third person, it's a daringly structured novel (with a definite h/t to Tim O'Brien's IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS) but one that brings immense pleasures both in how that structure plays out and also in the little moments of individual lines. Pittard captures teenage boys becoming men better than most men can do it - but she also captures the suburbs of the Mid-Atlantic, that beautiful period of time in the late 90s when we could all be free and unconstrained by fear or technology... this is so very much my kind of book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    The story opens with the disappearance of 16-year old Nora Lindell, and a speculation of her whereabouts. However, although she is present almost in the entire story, this is more focused on the life she left behind - the lives of her family, her younger sister and father, her friends, and especially the teenage boys who admired her from a distance. The book is filled with uncertain fates for Norah, all the while detailing the lives of those teenage boys until they grew to be men and start their The story opens with the disappearance of 16-year old Nora Lindell, and a speculation of her whereabouts. However, although she is present almost in the entire story, this is more focused on the life she left behind - the lives of her family, her younger sister and father, her friends, and especially the teenage boys who admired her from a distance. The book is filled with uncertain fates for Norah, all the while detailing the lives of those teenage boys until they grew to be men and start their own families, each still fantasizing about Norah at the back of their minds. I cannot connect with this book. On some levels, I thought it was poignant, endearing, and funny even, but I just could not feel myself getting drawn into reading it. I finished this book for the sake of finishing it, but I never really appreciated its story much. Which is not to say that this is a bad book. Maybe we just lacked chemistry, maybe I just lacked the enough number of brain cells to relate to this one. If you've been planning to read this, don't let my opinions affect your decision - you might love this in spite of what I said. Talking about the technical aspects of the story, this is very well-written and eloquent, compelling and wise. The story is told through a first-person plural point of view of those teenage boys, progressing through their adulthood. It did drag towards the middle, but the humor and the dreamy quality with which the narration was written would get you through the end. The main theme here is 'maybe.' Maybe Nora died, maybe Nora went somewhere, maybe, maybe maybe. These teenage boys - though not really obsessed - would often wonder about her and what has happened to her, and conjecture about her disappearance are detailed in this book. Only the reader could decide which to believe. What is very noticeable here, however, is how these teenage boys never really got past their young adult years. They went to college, took wives, had kids, but they could not finally and completely break free from the grasp of youth and in my opinion, Nora's pervasive presence in their minds was the symbolic refusal of their minds to turn adult. Most of the humor from this book would come from the fact that they never really got over their teenage lives, even fantasizing about a 'hot' mother of one of their friends, going through the same arguments with each other that they've been having since they were young, it was funny to read about grown men trying to act like boys, which hit me that not being able to let go of Nora's memory was equivalent to not being able to let go of their teenage years. I know that there was so much to like about this book, but I just could not understand why I cannot relate. Maybe because I took this expecting a story more focused on Nora than these boys. Again with the maybe. This book has a lot of that and more, therefore, I say give this book a chance. Maybe it will end up your favorite. ----- I received this book free of charge from the publisher, HarperCollins through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest and truthful review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pam Victorio

    Originally posted on http://bookalicio.us The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard is one of the more beautiful books I have read in my lifetime. I felt like I was watching the passing of time and living my life secretly along with the boys who miss Nora. At first as the reader I wanted to know what did happen to Nora, but the feeling passes and you are waiting with bated breath for the next story the boys concoct of her disappearance and later the stories they tell about themselves. Pittar Originally posted on http://bookalicio.us The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard is one of the more beautiful books I have read in my lifetime. I felt like I was watching the passing of time and living my life secretly along with the boys who miss Nora. At first as the reader I wanted to know what did happen to Nora, but the feeling passes and you are waiting with bated breath for the next story the boys concoct of her disappearance and later the stories they tell about themselves. Pittard hits the nail on the head of life in suburbia. The boys and girls and eventually men and women do what their parents did before them. They seem mildly apathetic, due to the loss of Nora and the what if's plaguing their lives. I think I was most sensitive to Danny whose mother killed herself because she had cancer, and whose father was a raging alcoholic. The boys while kind to him never truly respected him or saw him as a peer growing up. Trey I wondered a lot about in the beginning of the book, the road he took for himself seemed genuine. I just can't say enough about this book. It is a unique opportunity into the minds of others. There is laughter, tears, and heartbreak and you will be engrossed on every page turn. FTC Disclosure: I received this title from the lovely Mark at Harper Collins for the purpose of review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Lately, there have been a plethora of books about missing girls and what they signify for those left behind. The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sara Braunstein and Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan spring instantly to mind. In Hannah Pittard’s absorbing The Fates Will Find Their Way, this territory is mined again, and quite convincingly. Sixteen-year-old Nora vanishes one day and no one knows quite what happened. What’s left is a series of rumors, imaginings, suspicions, and what-ifs fr Lately, there have been a plethora of books about missing girls and what they signify for those left behind. The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sara Braunstein and Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan spring instantly to mind. In Hannah Pittard’s absorbing The Fates Will Find Their Way, this territory is mined again, and quite convincingly. Sixteen-year-old Nora vanishes one day and no one knows quite what happened. What’s left is a series of rumors, imaginings, suspicions, and what-ifs from teenage boys whose lives she touched. Ms. Pittard makes a risky choice in using the first person plural for narration – the “we” tense. It’s a hard tense to pull off, but she does it quite well. For instance, as the boys grow to men, she writes, “We owned homes, had wives. Some of us had more than one child by then. In many ways, we were kings. Everything was ahead of us…” But is it? As the fates dictate that the boys settle down into preordained future roles, something is lost in each of them. At one point, the narrator looks back to a time when the future was more limitless: “Our only limitation was our imagination, and that school year – and every school year after – our imagination seemed to grow, to outdo, what we’d ever believed possible. We outran our wildest fantasies. That is, until Nora Lindell went missing…” Nora is the fixed mark in time of all that might have been. Her life remains limitless, at least in the imaginings of her now-adult classmates; she took off to Arizona, she became pregnant, she married a much-older man, and so on. Their lives, however, are constrained by the realities of life, the wives and the babies and jobs and the homes as they sleepwalk forward. Ms. Pittard writes, “Certain outcomes are unavoidable, invariable, absolutely unaffectable, and yet completely unpredictable. Certain outcomes are that way. But maybe not Nora’s. Maybe she was the only one who escaped…” This haunting and minimalistic book has but one flaw in my opinion: Nora is consistently a symbol and never acquires that real-life mystique and fascination that would cause these teenage boys to remain starry-eyed and reverent way into adulthood. The conceit overpowers the reality of the story. That aside, there is some mighty fine writing from a debut author and some deep psychological insights that keeps the reader turning pages. The Fates Will Find Their Way is a lovely little gem.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    The premise of this book…the heart of this book is the disappearance of Nora Lindell. An ordinary neighborhood, a Halloween Party and Nora is never seen or heard from again. The most amazing aspect of this book is that we do not find out what happens to Nora. The story unfolds from the eyes of an unknown narrator. This narrator is one of the neighborhood boys and the entire telling of this story is from the view of this boy who seems to be telling the story from a “we” perspective. This narrator s The premise of this book…the heart of this book is the disappearance of Nora Lindell. An ordinary neighborhood, a Halloween Party and Nora is never seen or heard from again. The most amazing aspect of this book is that we do not find out what happens to Nora. The story unfolds from the eyes of an unknown narrator. This narrator is one of the neighborhood boys and the entire telling of this story is from the view of this boy who seems to be telling the story from a “we” perspective. This narrator speaks for all of the boys in the neighborhood as they are boys and as they grow into men…men with wives, babies and families of their own. There are many and varied theories about what happened to Nora Lindell and all of them are believable. I wanted to believe all of them except for the one with the saddest outcome. Each concept was presented in an orderly believable manner. I was caught up in each idea…I found myself saying to myself…”Yes, I can see that happening or of course, of course…that is what happened”. But again we never truly know. Hannah Pittard has written a truly beautiful and mesmerizing book. I was caught up in adolescent anxiety and school and parties with neighbors and college and aging and pretty much life in general. The realization for the narrator that this is what life is…being young and then being old and all the life stuff in between. It truly is a lovely lovely book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Scott Freeman

    This book was devastatingly brilliant. Make sure that you put it on your radar for February. Nora, a 16 year old girl, goes missing never to be heard from again. However, this is not about the disappearance itself but the cult of fascination that springs up from the disappearance among the boys in her class. Told as a group narrative this book moves between time and perspective. Sure, there are theories floated as to what happened to Nora but the true power is the long-term effects are played ou This book was devastatingly brilliant. Make sure that you put it on your radar for February. Nora, a 16 year old girl, goes missing never to be heard from again. However, this is not about the disappearance itself but the cult of fascination that springs up from the disappearance among the boys in her class. Told as a group narrative this book moves between time and perspective. Sure, there are theories floated as to what happened to Nora but the true power is the long-term effects are played out through the lives of those who knew here. I could not put this book down. It was not, by any means, a gentle read but was often frank and shocking. To me, the mark of a great book is one that unsettles you and remains in your mind for long after. This book accomplishes that. I will be an evangelist for this in 2011.

  23. 5 out of 5

    University of Chicago Magazine

    Hannah Pittard, AB'01 Author From our pages (Mar–Apr/11): "The Halloween disappearance of 16-year-old Nora Lindell launches Pittard’s first novel, a web of theories and stories about where Nora could be and how she vanished. Told some 30 years after the incident, the novel presents the voices of those she left behind to explore the mystery of Nora’s disappearance. Among the theories: she was abducted, nearly died in a bomb attack in India, or simply walked away. The novel also explains how Nora’s Hannah Pittard, AB'01 Author From our pages (Mar–Apr/11): "The Halloween disappearance of 16-year-old Nora Lindell launches Pittard’s first novel, a web of theories and stories about where Nora could be and how she vanished. Told some 30 years after the incident, the novel presents the voices of those she left behind to explore the mystery of Nora’s disappearance. Among the theories: she was abducted, nearly died in a bomb attack in India, or simply walked away. The novel also explains how Nora’s mysterious absence affects her friends and family over the following decades."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krok Zero

    Twin Peaks meets Then We Came to the End meets Capturing the Friedmans meets the ending of 25th Hour meets the concept of Tralfamadorian time from Slaughterhouse Five.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    This year is off to a great start for new novelists - and readers willing to sample unfamiliar names. Hannah Pittard's "The Fates Will Find Their Way" is the third impressive debut I've read in January (and I've got another for next week and the week after that). These books are a reassuring indication that new voices can still catch the attention of big publishing houses, despite what you may hear from aggrieved self-published authors. "The Fates Will Find Their Way" ruminates over the disappear This year is off to a great start for new novelists - and readers willing to sample unfamiliar names. Hannah Pittard's "The Fates Will Find Their Way" is the third impressive debut I've read in January (and I've got another for next week and the week after that). These books are a reassuring indication that new voices can still catch the attention of big publishing houses, despite what you may hear from aggrieved self-published authors. "The Fates Will Find Their Way" ruminates over the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl and the shadow of longing she casts over the neighborhood boys. Pittard, a young short story writer who graduated from the University of Virginia, seems at first to be reworking several other authors' material. Indeed, so many kids have vanished in recent fiction they should have their own line of milk cartons. And the men who tell this tale in the plural voice must know the guys who narrated Jeffrey Eugenides's "The Virgin Suicides" almost 20 years ago. But Pittard isn't grasping at the coattails of abduction thrillers, nor is she rewriting Eugenides's macabre book, though she graciously acknowledges its influence. Instead, she offers a story about the dark matter of adolescent desire that pulls on the heart across decades. It's a wistful novel about how little we know of one another, but how eager we are to tape together a collage of rumors, assumptions and fantasies to answer questions we're too young, too cowardly or too polite to ask. When 16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears from her small town on Halloween night, the mothers begin working through their phone tree while the boys gather in a basement and "interrogate each other for information, eager to be the one to discover the truth." Each has a recent sighting to share: She was at the mall, the airport, the swing sets or, most ominously, at the bus station, where she may have gotten into an old car. Trey Stephens claims he had sex with Nora just last month, but he goes to public school, so who knows how reliable that is? The details constantly melt and congeal into different forms as the boys frighten and titillate each other with speculation about what must have happened. Stewart O'Nan wrote a devastating novel about a similar disappearance a few years ago called "Songs for the Missing," which followed the cruel trajectory of one family's hopes. But Pittard doesn't intrude very far into this family's grief, nor do we hear anything about the police investigation. Instead, "The Fates Will Find Their Way" stays focused on a dozen teenage boys who continue wondering about Nora while studying her younger sister with a mixture of concern and prurience. Nora becomes an integral part of their fantasy lives, their dreams of what might have been, visions of romantic perfection they quietly return to again and again throughout their lives, early in the morning while shaving or late at night, lying next to their own pretty enough wives. Most of the novel moves like a winding confession - not a confession of any crime, but a poignant testimony of male adolescence, steeped in nostalgia and regret. "We were boys, after all," the plural narrator admits, "which means we were creeps - our mothers' word - which means we were indiscreet and couldn't help ourselves when it came time to trading what we'd done or not done or when and with whom and how." One anecdote blends into another. The bull sessions in Trey's basement give way to sexual anecdotes of uncertain reliability, along with stories of mothers who talk too freely and fathers who drink too much. The boys polish these scenes into the domestic myths of their lives, such as the piercing anecdote about Nora's sister dressing up as Nora on the next Halloween. It's an arresting incantation, and I couldn't believe how strongly the story drew me back to events in my own life that I hadn't thought of for decades, tragedies that smoldered in gossip without the oxygen of any real information: the boy across the street who shot himself after our neighborhood water fight; the friend whose father hanged himself; the student in the dorm who was raped by an administrator's son - all of them vanished into the mists of rumor. You have your own adolescent legends, of course, and don't be surprised by the power of this evocative novel to unearth them. As affecting as I found this book, though, I wish its plural narrator were more consistently convincing. Every individual male character Pittard creates here is wholly believable, endowed with the peculiar desires and attributes that make people saunter off the page and prick us with the sense of their reality. By the time these guys approach 50, those original differences in class, conscience and ability have scattered them across the spectrum of happiness and success in completely plausible ways. But this stitched-together narrator pulls at its own seams; such diverse men couldn't speak in a choral voice. References to "our wives" fixing dinner and taking care of "our kids" sound as dated and stylized as a '60s sitcom. At other times, the novel's voice seems weirdly incorporeal, lacking the visceral sense of what it's like to inhabit a breathing, sweating, working male body. These "we boys" who grow up to become "we men" are an oddly sensitive, feminine ideal of male consciousness, filled with quiet sorrow for the transgressions of men. If this is the voice of a dozen guys - jocks and geeks, executives and deadbeats, alcoholics and pedophiles - they've been boiled together for a long time to produce a very refined broth. Still, "The Fates Will Find Their Way" is chilling and touching. Pittard can be harrowingly wise about the melancholy process of growing up, of moving from the horny days of high school to the burden of protecting our own children. We realize what's been lost, what's been done to us and what we've done to each other before we're mature enough to calculate the true cost. In Pittard's absorbing treatment, the tragedy of Nora's disappearance is eventually subsumed into the tragedies we all endure. http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I haven't read The Virgin Suicides, only seen the film, so was less reminded of Eugenides than Stewart O'Nan's Night Country. The collective first person plural voice worked because the telling of the story was so particular (I was made slightly uncomfortable by the "wives" and their collective actions, attitudes, maybe because the wives were not named or described. Though in the end I came to feel the "wives" were represented with generosity). Reading this novel required exercising a sort of ne I haven't read The Virgin Suicides, only seen the film, so was less reminded of Eugenides than Stewart O'Nan's Night Country. The collective first person plural voice worked because the telling of the story was so particular (I was made slightly uncomfortable by the "wives" and their collective actions, attitudes, maybe because the wives were not named or described. Though in the end I came to feel the "wives" were represented with generosity). Reading this novel required exercising a sort of negative capability: accepting not knowing and having a willingness to entertain possible outcomes (maybe this happened, maybe that happened, let's imagine it was like this, no like this . . . ). It didn't take long, since I wasn't reading for plot, and once I stopped looking for what must be "the truth," I realized that this wasn't a story about a Nora Lindell, the missing girl, nor even her sister. It was about teenage boys and the men they were to become, about growing up, about the constant reflection on one's life that gets snagged on certain indelible moments -- certain people, images, experiences in one's youth -- those touchstones one returns to when reflecting on how one's adulthood is shaped, the moments and impressions by which you measure yourself, again and again. The possibilities the young men envision happening to Nora each reflect a wishful thinking about who they are as men at the stage in their lives: the young men consider their actions, even if in retrospect - their capacity for sexual violence, their capacity for celibate adoration and protectiveness of a child or a woman. . . then, when their lives are more settled and they have moved into marriage and parenthood themselves, they imagine a Nora who has escaped to an foreign place and exotic life. The novel is about how our imaginations adapt to discovering the actual course of events, however contradictory; how we claim certain memories and deny reality despite the evidence -- even as we know we're doing it -- for the sake of sanity and a good story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tahira

    When I reflect on The Fates Will Find Their Way all I can think is "No". I understand that that is a strange response for what is supposed to be a thought process, but I was really unimpressed by this novel. There is nothing that this review will say that other reviews haven't already said in much more charming and articulate ways, but I ultimately feel like this novel was so unnecessarily disappointing. Clearly, Pittard has writing ability and I respect her for this. However, I do not think she u When I reflect on The Fates Will Find Their Way all I can think is "No". I understand that that is a strange response for what is supposed to be a thought process, but I was really unimpressed by this novel. There is nothing that this review will say that other reviews haven't already said in much more charming and articulate ways, but I ultimately feel like this novel was so unnecessarily disappointing. Clearly, Pittard has writing ability and I respect her for this. However, I do not think she used her skills to the best of her ability and I'm critical of a lot of the decisions she made. First, the fact that she wrote a novel that is uncomfortably (in my opinion) close to The Virgin Suicides is not praiseworthy, but proves unattractive and unoriginal. This is unfortunate because Pittard claims that she stayed far away from The Virgin Suicides while writing The Fates (see interview: http://bit.ly/bs7ec9). Regardless of what Pittard may have done, The Fates still seems highly derivative. Furthermore, I'm fairly unamused by an author who states that her characters originated as stereo-types (see interview again). I feel as though that admission proves a lack of authenticity and demonstrates poor story and character development--both of which are rather noticeable throughout the novel. To be fair for a moment, the characters ultimately served their purpose, but they left quite a lot to be desired. Lastly, I really did not like Pittard's portrayal of men. I got the sense that she was trying to illustrate something more tender and layered, but she didn't. She gave readers characters that were immature, self-centered and kind of dopey. Pittard presented readers with a caricature of what suburban boys are said to be, and rather than challenging this portrayal, she indulged it. I sense that Pittard could do better than what The Fates turned out to be, but I don't know if I have the conviction to find out.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    The Fates Will Find Their Way charts the lives of those left behind after the disappearance of a neighborhood girl, Nora Lindell. Nora was sixteen when she went missing, and the mystery is never solved. The boys she went to school with grow into men, but Nora and her possible fate always lurks in their minds. I was surprised and yet not at all surprised by the draw she continues to have on these men. Through the voice of an unknown male narrator, Hannah Pittard shares their speculations on Nora’ The Fates Will Find Their Way charts the lives of those left behind after the disappearance of a neighborhood girl, Nora Lindell. Nora was sixteen when she went missing, and the mystery is never solved. The boys she went to school with grow into men, but Nora and her possible fate always lurks in their minds. I was surprised and yet not at all surprised by the draw she continues to have on these men. Through the voice of an unknown male narrator, Hannah Pittard shares their speculations on Nora’s possible endings and the fates of all those who knew her. The narrative bounces back and forth between childhood memories and adulthood, and it works perfectly. What I found amazing about The Fates Will Find Their Way was Pittard’s ability to convey the hold Nora and her family held over these boys/men at the same time showing how their lives all unfold in a very normal, suburban way. Despite their fascination and continued reflection on Nora, she really has very little effect on their own fates. Even Nora’s younger sister, Sissy, is somehow able to construct a normal life for herself. I was interested in reading The Fates Will Find Their Way because the story seemed reminiscent in theme and style to The Virgin Suicides, a book I read years ago and enjoyed a great deal. While it is similar, Pittard’s writing stands fully on its own. I was fascinated by this book and sped through it on Christmas Eve day. The Fates Will Find Their Way is a truly wonderful book. I highly recommend you read it as soon as possible. http://iubookgirl.blogspot.com/2011/0...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I saw some not so good reviews of this book on Goodreads, mainly centering around how the mystery of What Happened to Nora Lindell doesn't get solved. To me, that's not really the point of the book. Sure, yes, I'm curious about what happened to her. Though just as well written, the part with living with the Mexican man and three children was...a bit weird. But I didn't finish it and think, Ahhh, what, was she living with the Mexican, did she die, did she end up in Mumbai with a beautiful woman, I saw some not so good reviews of this book on Goodreads, mainly centering around how the mystery of What Happened to Nora Lindell doesn't get solved. To me, that's not really the point of the book. Sure, yes, I'm curious about what happened to her. Though just as well written, the part with living with the Mexican man and three children was...a bit weird. But I didn't finish it and think, Ahhh, what, was she living with the Mexican, did she die, did she end up in Mumbai with a beautiful woman, what?! I mean, duh, she's dead. This isn't a mystery. This is about life and its possibilities and how it goes on and on and on and you might sit around and wonder, What happened to her?...What would have happened to me if I...?...How come I never knew that guy was like that?...but, it is goes on. And you gotta go along with it. Maybe with some of the people that know you best (the people you grew up with), you can sit and wonder with them and fantasize and guess and retell shared memories, but that's all it is. And after awhile, man, you let go of that too. Then you keep going with having your pool parties and crawling into bed with your wife and just going on with your life. Nora Lindell isn't a mystery, she's a symbol of lost opportunities, a long ago childhood, and yeah, she's dead. Beautiful writing. Not that I can ever know what it's like to be in a guy's head, but I feel like Pittard did a great job of writing from guys' perspectives. I liked best when all of the guys were together, in a basement or in somebody's mom's kitchen, talking and thinking like how I imagine guys would. It was interesting both when they were teenagers and when they were middle-aged.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris Blocker

    Language is a powerful tool. It can enrage the timid, soothe a lost crew at sea, and motivate the masses to march. If nothing else, language is a seducer. And from the pen of Hannah Pittard, it certainly does seduce. I love... (no, this is an instance where I choose to type like a freshman girl who picked Bobby Quarterback's pen up from the floor). I love, love, LOVE!!!! Pittard's language. Love it! OMG. Pittard uses words in a way I envy. She's insightful. Poetic. And yet it's all done so subtly Language is a powerful tool. It can enrage the timid, soothe a lost crew at sea, and motivate the masses to march. If nothing else, language is a seducer. And from the pen of Hannah Pittard, it certainly does seduce. I love... (no, this is an instance where I choose to type like a freshman girl who picked Bobby Quarterback's pen up from the floor). I love, love, LOVE!!!! Pittard's language. Love it! OMG. Pittard uses words in a way I envy. She's insightful. Poetic. And yet it's all done so subtly. Really quite brilliant. Her craft is strong and I believe, one day, she'll be quite a force in the literary world. The Fates Will Find Their Way is a gorgeous read, but it is missing one vital component: story. No matter how beautiful the sentences come together, without story, it holds little weight. Shakespeare skillfully unveiled language, but what would Romeo and Juliet be without Capulets and Montagues? Without Romeo and Juliet? A year from now, if a friend asks me what The Fates Will Find Their Way is about, I'll probably say, "It's about a missing girl, and uhmm... the guys who... miss her, I guess." And then I'll rave about the language. It probably won't be enough to convince my friend. Pittard has gained my admiration. I look forward to reading more of her work. My sincerest hope is that her next offering is a bit heavier in story. Pittard's words + Memorable Story = OMG!!!!!!!

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