The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
Published: 2011 by ecco, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Source: Galley received from publisher
One Halloween, sixteen year-old Nora Lindell goes missing and is never heard from again. But she is still talked about in the community where she grew up, especially it seems among the boys in her neighborhood not only when she disappeared but into their adulthood as well.
It is one of these boys - unnamed - who acts as the narrator of The Fates Will Find Their Way. He speaks on behalf of his group -- boys who appear to have grown up together and now raise their families in the same community. Many of them saw Nora the evening she disappeared, and while I thought their cohesiveness would lead to something to explain Nora's absence, I found the narration superficial and unemotional; and perhaps that was the author's intent - to represent how young men react to such an event close to their own lives.
Mixed into the narrative is Nora's story -- what may or may not have happened to her. Several alternatives arise -- from violent to sad to heartwarming -- but it is never clear if any of these are the true version of events. In none of the alternatives are any reason given for her disappearance, and in the novel there is no emphasis at all given to any investigation. Again, is this because the author wants to show only the boys' perspective?
As I started reading this novel, I was reminded a little bit of The Lovely Bones for its description of the story's main plot point right at the beginning. But that is where the similarities ended -- the tragedy of the disappearance became less important as the novel went on and to me became more like a local legend than a possible crime; the novel then became about the young men as a group and their progression through life with this event linking them forever.
For me, the writing seemed distant and unemotional and where I think I should have felt something for what happened to Nora and to some of the other characters, I could not. If there was an underlying message to this novel, I did not pick up on it.