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The Fates Will Find Their Way

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,750 ratings  ·  696 reviews
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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Ecco
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 ·  3,750 ratings  ·  696 reviews

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Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.

Kate Woods Walker
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
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 ...more
Larry H
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
May 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Matthew Allard
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
"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
Rebekah O'Dell
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jessica Sullivan
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
“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
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it
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
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-6
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
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Pam Victorio
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on

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.

Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott Freeman
Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-books
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 ...more
Leila Cohan-Miccio
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I went back and forth between giving this book four or five stars, but since I finished it almost 24 hours ago and haven't stopped thinking about it since, I decided on five. Though it's impossible not to notice the structural similarities to The Virgin Suicides, the execution is different. Though The Virgin Suicides is also narrated by a group of boys, it's very much about the Lisbon sisters. Conversely, while this book is structured around the disappearance of Nora Lindell, it's all about the ...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Hannah Pittard, AB'01

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
Krok Zero
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: winter-10-to-11
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.
Ron Charles
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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’ ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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, ...more
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