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

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4/5 Stars.

“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.

 

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