The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel

( 47 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

n 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.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“What emerges from the narration instead of facts are exquisite details that translate instantly into memory.”
Washington Post
“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…. Chilling and touching…harrowingly wise about the melancholy process of growing up.”
O: the Oprah Magazine
“A stunning novel about making up stories as we go along…[a] mesmerizing debut…with every carefully chosen word—and in this short, intense novel, each one counts—Pittard brilliantly draws us into the maturing consciousness of a group of neighborhood boys.”
Time magazine
“A dreamlike cross between THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and THE LOVELY BONES.”
The Millions
“THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is about a disappearance, but it’s also about the difficulty of growing up, of moving into adulthood and letting go. It’s a brilliant and beautifully written work.”
Chicago Tribune
“Engaging and vigorously told…I heard all sorts of echoes from other books, from Alice Sebold’s THE LOVELY BONES and some of Joyce Carol Oates’ stories and novels…Pittard’s excellent first novel satisfies this demand in spades.”
Elle
“A meditation on the mysteries of life and fate.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[Pittard] spurs rumination on the moments in which we witness the tragedies of others and somehow manage to wrap events around ourselves.”
Details
“This novel uncovers creepy male sexuality in every form and facet by recounting the way a local girl’s disappearance traumatized a group of suburban men and revealing their morbid fantasies about her ultimate fate…THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, but without the virgins.”
Christopher Tilghman
“It’s a tour de force for a young woman to follow the attitudes and changes and expectations of these several men as they grow older. ... I would recommend it to anyone.”
Financial Times
“An exceptional first novel…of “what ifs” [and] a beautifully crafted portrait of men slipping almost imperceptibly from childhood to middle-age.... It’s hard to imagine a better debut this year.”
Time Out Chicago
“[The] narrator is a collective “we”... gathering the received anti-wisdom of a group of neighborhood boys in a suburban town. But the way the story plays out, covering conjecture with the sheen of fact and writing myth into stone, Pittard ropes the reader in as well.”
McSweeney's
“Some of you will be familiar with Ms. Pittard’s particular magic.... This is a stunning first novel told in the first person plural with devastating results.”
Los Angeles Times
“An emotionally taut and elegantly written novel.”
The Onion AV Club
“A bracing debut… Ripe with a sense of danger to the last page, th stories woven among the boys who remembered Nora Lindell create a captivating tale of lives unlived.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“An eerie, arresting novel…a bold, imaginative, deeply psychological debut novel, a mystery in the finest sense of the word.”
Boston Globe
“THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is concerned with searching questions rather than the relief of resolution. What might have been a frustrating approach in a lesser novel proves compelling in this one.”
BookPage
“A dark story of adolescence gone awry…In playing out each of the theories about [character] Nora’s disappearance, Pittard perfectly illustrates the hysteria surrounding any such disaster, and the ways in which very detail can be twisted and elevated to create endings to a story that fundamentally has none.”
Sacramento Book Review
“Pittard does an amazing job with setting up middle American suburbia in the latter half of the 20th century.... The story doesn’t shy away from heavy subjects... but it doesn’t use them as emotional gimmicks either.... A very solid debut, worth picking up.”
Bookreporter.com
“The architecture of the narrative is cemented in the solipsism of the boys/men…As readers work their way through the novel, they might try guessing what could have happened to Nora, but the ending is a surprise.”
Jim Shepard
“THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is...about the way our imaginations can carry us from a dispiriting selfishness to a nascent empathy, and the way we continue to inflict—or even just observe—pain until that empathy arrives.”
Ann Beattie
“Pittard gives the secret wink to the reader, because a story is only a story, but at the same time more than a story, and that’s why we love to invent and why we love to listen and to be taken in. At our peril.”
Vendela Vida
“THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is a bold, wise, magical, and authentic novel about youthful infatuation and its legacy. Hannah Pittard’s beautifully confident prose is sure to make readers look back on their own teenage years with fresh wonder.”
Patrick Somerville
“THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is simply tremendous—a beautiful, roving, restless and relentless exploration of a crime. It would be almost too sad to bear the implications of this story if it weren’t for the warmth, hope, and kindness of its haunting prose.”
the Oprah Magazine O
“A stunning novel about making up stories as we go along…[a] mesmerizing debut…with every carefully chosen word—and in this short, intense novel, each one counts—Pittard brilliantly draws us into the maturing consciousness of a group of neighborhood boys.”
Elle
"A meditation on the mysteries of life and fate."
The Millions
"THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is about a disappearance, but it’s also about the difficulty of growing up, of moving into adulthood and letting go. It’s a brilliant and beautifully written work."
Bookreporter.com
"The architecture of the narrative is cemented in the solipsism of the boys/men…As readers work their way through the novel, they might try guessing what could have happened to Nora, but the ending is a surprise."
Details
"This novel uncovers creepy male sexuality in every form and facet by recounting the way a local girl’s disappearance traumatized a group of suburban men and revealing their morbid fantasies about her ultimate fate…THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, but without the virgins."
Washington Post
"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…. Chilling and touching…harrowingly wise about the melancholy process of growing up."
Sacramento Book Review
"Pittard does an amazing job with setting up middle American suburbia in the latter half of the 20th century.... The story doesn’t shy away from heavy subjects... but it doesn’t use them as emotional gimmicks either.... A very solid debut, worth picking up."
The Onion AV Club
"A bracing debut… Ripe with a sense of danger to the last page, th stories woven among the boys who remembered Nora Lindell create a captivating tale of lives unlived."
Financial Times
"An exceptional first novel…of "what ifs" [and] a beautifully crafted portrait of men slipping almost imperceptibly from childhood to middle-age.... It’s hard to imagine a better debut this year."
Boston Globe
"THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is concerned with searching questions rather than the relief of resolution. What might have been a frustrating approach in a lesser novel proves compelling in this one."
New York Times Book Review
"What emerges from the narration instead of facts are exquisite details that translate instantly into memory."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[Pittard] spurs rumination on the moments in which we witness the tragedies of others and somehow manage to wrap events around ourselves."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"An eerie, arresting novel…a bold, imaginative, deeply psychological debut novel, a mystery in the finest sense of the word."
Los Angeles Times
"An emotionally taut and elegantly written novel."
Time Out Chicago
"[The] narrator is a collective "we"... gathering the received anti-wisdom of a group of neighborhood boys in a suburban town. But the way the story plays out, covering conjecture with the sheen of fact and writing myth into stone, Pittard ropes the reader in as well."
Time magazine
“A dreamlike cross between THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and THE LOVELY BONES.”
BookPage
"A dark story of adolescence gone awry…In playing out each of the theories about [character] Nora’s disappearance, Pittard perfectly illustrates the hysteria surrounding any such disaster, and the ways in which very detail can be twisted and elevated to create endings to a story that fundamentally has none."
McSweeney's
"Some of you will be familiar with Ms. Pittard’s particular magic.... This is a stunning first novel told in the first person plural with devastating results."
Chicago Tribune
"Engaging and vigorously told…I heard all sorts of echoes from other books, from Alice Sebold’s THE LOVELY BONES and some of Joyce Carol Oates’ stories and novels…Pittard’s excellent first novel satisfies this demand in spades."
The Onion A.V. Club
“A bracing debut… Ripe with a sense of danger to the last page, th stories woven among the boys who remembered Nora Lindell create a captivating tale of lives unlived.”
Time Magazine
"A dreamlike cross between THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and THE LOVELY BONES."
Christopher Tilghman
"It’s a tour de force for a young woman to follow the attitudes and changes and expectations of these several men as they grow older. ... I would recommend it to anyone."
Jim Shepard
"THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is...about the way our imaginations can carry us from a dispiriting selfishness to a nascent empathy, and the way we continue to inflict—or even just observe—pain until that empathy arrives."
Ann Beattie
"Pittard gives the secret wink to the reader, because a story is only a story, but at the same time more than a story, and that’s why we love to invent and why we love to listen and to be taken in. At our peril."
Vendela Vida
"THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is a bold, wise, magical, and authentic novel about youthful infatuation and its legacy. Hannah Pittard’s beautifully confident prose is sure to make readers look back on their own teenage years with fresh wonder."
Patrick Somerville
"THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is simply tremendous—a beautiful, roving, restless and relentless exploration of a crime. It would be almost too sad to bear the implications of this story if it weren’t for the warmth, hope, and kindness of its haunting prose."
the Oprah Magazine O
“A stunning novel about making up stories as we go along…[a] mesmerizing debut…with every carefully chosen word—and in this short, intense novel, each one counts—Pittard brilliantly draws us into the maturing consciousness of a group of neighborhood boys.”
Library Journal
Nora Lindell, a 16-year-old private schoolgirl in a suburban town, disappears one Halloween night. The boys in the town collectively narrate this haunted tale of Nora's imagined fate and their own lives, from their teens until they are adults with families. Nora lives on in their imagination—there are sightings and multiple theories about where she ended up, the boys fantasize about and date her younger sister, and they continue to think of her when they are with their own wives and children. Much of what they describe is mundane, yet Nora is always there in the background. The tension builds throughout the book, keeping the reader eager to find out what happened to Nora and to the boys and, later, to the men who were so profoundly affected by her disappearance. VERDICT This debut from McSweeney's award winner Pittard is smart, eerie, and suspenseful and will appeal to fans of novels combining those elements.—Sarah Conrad Weisman, Corning Community Coll., NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061996061
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/17/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 985,547
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Hannah Pittard

Hannah Pittard's fiction has appeared in McSweeney's, the Oxford American, the Mississippi Review, BOMB, Nimrod, and StoryQuarterly, and was included in 2008 Best American Short Stories' 100 Distinguished Stories. She is the recipient of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and a graduate of the University of Virginia's MFA program. She divides her time between Charlottesville and Chicago, where she currently teaches fiction at DePaul University.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2011

    An Unusual Style

    This is the most unusual book I've read in awhile, being in first person plural with lots of verb tenses that would be awkward for many writers. Not for Pittard, though. The story pursues the mystery of the elusive and enigmatic Nora through what-ifs, maybes and might have beens. Possible pasts are explored and discarded, though some are held onto by the group of boys as they progress through high school into adulthood.
    It starts as an angst-ridden drama of newly hormonal teenagers. When one of their group, Nora, goes missing, the group considers alternate scenarios to explain to themselves, collectively, what happened to her. It's an elitist bunch of boys who permit one "public schooler" into their midst, but only on the outskirts. In spite of this, we come to appreciate them and sympathize with their difficulties. Nora disappears on Halloween, and subsequent Halloweens are never again normal events for them. One of their female classmates is raped by a big brother of another classmate and they are tenderly protective of her. Nora's younger sister, Sissy, is perhaps the mostly profoundly affected by her sister's disappearance and unresolved fate. The boys close solicitous ranks around her, too, as much as they can.
    The reader watches in fascination as the boys mature and become the men that their teenage years laid foundations for. And, always running through their lives, even as they marry and have children, are the questions surrounding Nora. The fantasies they form are fed by sightings over the years that may or may not have really been Nora. They create alternate lives she might have, would probably have or could have led.
    There are some hilarious scenes, but most are serious and give the reader plenty of fodder for speculation and thought.
    I hope you'll enjoy this book as much as I did. In spite of the unusual literary style, it's readable, even flowing and my interest never ever flagged.

    Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of "A Patchwork of Stories", for Suspense Magazine

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    WONDERFUL BOOK

    This book is definitely one of my favorites. Another reviewer said that they wouldnt recommend it to mainstream readers and I quite agree. It would likely fly right over the heads of many a reader looking for a dollar store paperback experience. For those readers, however, who are looking for something a bit more, something with some truth to it, this book will certainly fill the bill. Excellent book. Excellent author who I hope will continue to write and publish. We need more writers like Hannah Pittard.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2011

    A Haunting Tale of Suburban Ennui

    Reading the synopsis immediately conjures up comparisons to THE VIRGIN SUICIDES but this is actually closer to Tom Perrotta's LITTLE CHILDREN. A girl's disappearance sparks off memories and speculations of a man, who tells us the tales of a neighborhood group. We get to see them grow up together, deal with the haunting loss of their object of sexual affection and how they never get over it. Ultimately, THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY is about the emotional decay that accompanies suburban security. Very good, quick read, I recommend this book for those looking for a slice of life drama with a touch of humor.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2010

    Best book of 2011

    This is not just a story about a missing girl, but a story of a missing girl and the impact on the community. The story is told from the first person plural from a local group of boys Nora attended school with. The boys tell the story of Nora and their fantasies of her. What happened to Nora is never fully defined, and that works like perfection. The reader is allowed to imagine what happened to Nora. What happened to Nora is unique to each an every one of us readers, and might be different each time the book is read and re-read. Hannah Pittard writes so well that at no point does the reader ever think that teen boys would have done something differently. Highly recommended!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love when I pick up a book and just fall right into it. I was

    I love when I pick up a book and just fall right into it. I was a little wary when I picked up The Fates Will Find Their Way because the Goodreads rating is only so-so, and I try not to read anything that has less than a 3.5 star rating. But this one, with its little 3.18, was fantastic.




    If you’re a fan of The Lovely Bones and The Virgin Suicides, then you will love this book. The basic premise is this:




    At 17, a well-like girl named Nora Lindell went missing. Over the next couple of decades, a group of boys in her class concoct various stories about what may have happened to her. In some, she’s married and happy, and in others she’s a long-time dead. But in all of them, the details are vivid and the longing palpable. Even as they grow up, get married, and have kids, the boys from Nora’s childhood can’t seem to let her go.




    What I love about this book is that it flows so well. I wouldn’t say that it’s stream-of-conciousness writing but it is definitely less structured. What is so amazing about it is that the imagination and intricate tales that the boys weave for Nora’s life are entirely plausible.




    I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I am still thinking about book. Nothing about it is shocking or loud, but its subtle and intricate details propel the book into the realm of palpability. And that, my friends, makes for a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great concept, poor execution

    This story revolves around the obsessive thoughts of a group of high school boys surrounding the disappearance of their sixteen year old classmate Nora. The boys imagine several scenarios over what happened to Nora that Halloween night and the possibilities grow as they age into their forties.

    The premise of the story is intriguing as is the weaving of the events of their lives as the boys grow into men. What holds them together is this common event in their lives.

    Here's where the book fell terribly short for me. The entire book is written as a narrative by one of the guys. You never know his name. A narrative approach may have worked, however the author had so many characters going on over the span of 20+ years, so there was essentially no character development that went deeper than surface level. This made it impossible for me to connect with and care about any of them. Also, over this 20+ years, why is this group of guys still so incredibly pre-occupied with Nora's dissapearance. It would be understandable for their to be lingering thoughts, but obsession?

    Another area of difficulty was that the author seemed to find a way to throw in nearly every tragic event possible, rape, molestation, the early death of a parent, terroist bombing, etc. Instead of being a book about the collective musings over the missing Nora, it was a bombardement of the worst of society.

    I enjoyed the concept of the book, but not the execution.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2011

    My favorite part was the cover

    I did not enjoy reading this book at all. I had to make myself finish it. Although it was creative being told from the point of view of multiple people I could not follow the story and the ending well... I never regret reading a book because I enjoy the different types of writing styles but I could not get into this book. I would not recommend this book to anyone. The cover makes for great artwork though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Sucks

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    Hmmmm.....

    It's hard to say what I think about this book. I think all of the reviewers had acceptable opinions. While the book is somewhat gripping and tragic it is not enough for me to be interested or excited.This book doesn't seem to follow the normal format for most books: resolution, climax denounment ect. It is a dramatic story, but the person telling the story is not dramatic. The book left me with a sense of dread and a feeling of melancholy. I would not reccomend it to people that are "mainstream" readers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2011

    One of the worst books EVER

    Could not wait to finish this book! Huge disappointment. This garbage should have never been printed.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    A Plotless Meandering

    Told from the collective perspective of a group of boys, the book jumps around between timelines and never quite makes its point. I found nothing particularly suspenseful, and the characters are unsympathetic. I suppose it works as a sort of life commentary, but otherwise it was not a book I enjoyed.

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  • Posted December 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    terrific low-key suspense thriller

    On Halloween night, sixteen years old Nora Lindell fails to come home. The next morning, her worried father, realizing his daughter did not come home, begins the phone tree with the Boyd family. As he breaks tree etiquette, Mrs. Boyd begins the orderly tree system.

    The boys her age begin telling each other what they know about Nora. Over the next few months with nothing new on Nora, the teen males focus on her sister Sissy who is still in town. The years go by and the boys are fathers, but Nora never returned. Instead her legend in the small town is like Elvis sightings everywhere, but beneath their macabre musings that their wives accept as imprinted on their brains when two of them get together, each wonders what happened to Nora on Halloween years ago that haunts each of them?

    This is a terrific low-key suspense thriller that hooks readers as much as the boys with a need to know. Nora's legend grows with each passing Halloween as none of the boys even as adult fathers can let the mystery go. Readers will appreciate this entertaining mystery that uses everyday normal family living over the years to tell the myth of missing Nora.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 13, 2011

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