THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY by Hannah Pittard
“We imagined her with us, more beautiful than our wives, more aloof, more tender, more kind. We imagined her future and our own. We closed our eyes and fell asleep to Nora Lindell, alive and happy. In the morning, we advanced to adulthood, relieved at last of childhood fantasies.”
Review by Jill I. Shtulman Â (JAN 26, 2011)
Lately, there have been a number of books about missing girls and what they signify for those left behind. The forthcoming The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sara Braunstein and last summer’s paperback release of Songs for the Missing by Stewart Oâ€™Nan spring instantly to mind.
In Hannah Pittardâ€™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. Whatâ€™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 â€“ the â€śweâ€ť tense. Itâ€™s a hard tense to pull off, but she does it quite well. For instance, as the boys grow to men, she writes, â€śWe owned homes, had wives. Some of us had more than one child by then. In many ways, we were kings. Everything was ahead of usâ€¦â€ť
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: â€śOur only limitation was our imagination, and that school year â€“ and every school year after â€“ our imagination seemed to grow, to outdo, what weâ€™d ever believed possible. We outran our wildest fantasies. That is, until Nora Lindell went missingâ€¦â€ť
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, â€śCertain outcomes are unavoidable, invariable, absolutely unaffectable, and yet completely unpredictable. Certain outcomes are that way. But maybe not Noraâ€™s. Maybe she was the only one who escapedâ€¦â€ť
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.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 14 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Ecco (January 25, 2011)|
|REVIEWER:||Jill I. Shtulman|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Hannah Pittard|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Other missing girl stories:
Fragile by Lisa Unger
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
The False Friend by Myla Goldberg
Eve Green by Susan Fletcher
And one of the best missing child stories:
The Disapparation of James by Anne
- The Fates Will Find Their Way (January 2011)