Book Review: The Fates Will Find Their Way

The Fates will Find Their Way

Hannah Pittard


256 pages

Nora Lindell goes missing on Halloween and is never seen again.  Her peers are all hung up on her disappearance, and The Fates will Find Their Way is the story of her exit from the persepective of her male classmates.

This is not your typical mystery novel in the sense that there is no focus on an investigation.  We never hear of police involvement really, although surely there must have been some type of investigation.  The only viewpoint we hear is that of the boys as they mature into adulthood.  Obviously they have no concrete facts, but instead focus on the gossip that abounds.  Their imaginations also take hold and they make up different scenarios that could have befallen Nora.  Is she dead?  Did she escape out west?  Is she in India? Does she have children? The novel follows the aftermath of Nora’s disappearance for a decade after the event, so that certain details of her family’s lives afterward are woven into the different contrivances they come up with.

The Fates will Find Their Way was somewhat reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides.  The vagueness of the story along with the teen boys narrating the novel seemed very similar to me.  It turns out I am not alone, because I googled the two books once I finished this one and realized that I was certainly not the first one to notice the similarities.

The Fates will Find Their Way did not quite reach me in the way The Virgin Suicides did.  While Nora definitely had the charm and intrigue that the Lisbon sisters did, the bleary ambiguity in this book made it hard for me to focus.  I think another issue I had was the structure of the novel married to the plot of a missing girl.  Ambiguity doesn’t always bother me, but when I am reading a mystery I expect to at least have an idea of what happened.  I never got that here.

This book still had its merit but I have a feeling that the details will start to be hazy and by the time a few months have passed, I will remember very little about the book except that I found it mediocre.

I read this book as a part of the RIP challenge, although it turned out not to be all that fitting.

Other Reviews:

She is too Fond of Books

Caribous Mom

The Boston Bibliophile

Shelf Love

Devourer of Books

Fizzy Thoughts

Views from the Page and the Oven

You’ve GOTTA Read This!

Steph & Tony Investigate

I purchased this book from a used book sale.


13 Responses

  1. Oh, that’s too bad. At least I don’t have to add another book to my wish list.

  2. I absolutely LOVED this book (haven’t read Virgin Suicides but is on my shelf). For me, it wasn’t at all about the missing girl as it was about high school boys and the way they act and think as they are young and as they grow older. The one thing I have noticed with this book is that it is very polarizing. There isn’t much in between.

    • I think that maybe I would have had a different reaction if I had had a better idea of what to expect going in to this book, but I’m not entirely sure. You must read The Virgin Suicides though!

  3. I haven’t read either book, so I’m not sure what I’d think of this structure. It sounds like an interesting way to view the mystery though, and I think I might like it because of that non-traditional structure.

  4. I didn’t think about The Virgin Suicides, but you’re totally right. Especially since I didn’t care for that one very much, either (although I’ve adored his other books).

  5. aww sorry to hear that this wasn’t a memorable one. i hate it when a mystery book doesn’t have a clear resolution it always leaves me wanting more and wondering what in the world really happened.

  6. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this one. I wonder if I would enjoy it more having the knowledge beforehand that the mystery isn’t really resolved and that it’s more of the boys’ reactions.. I’m not completely sure, but something about this book always intrigues me!

  7. The premise of this one intrigues me, but I really like my mysteries to be wrapped up in the end.

  8. I don’t think I would like a mystery that wasn’t wrapped up in the end. The story has me curious but I am not sure about not knowing what happened when all is said and done.

  9. I read this book earlier this year and I don’t think I would consider it a mystery at all. Perhaps the backcover blurb might make it sound like it’s one, but it never felt that way to me.

    I also thought that it was very similar in many ways to The Virgin Suicides, but by and large this one felt quite flat for me and was vastly inferior compared to Eugenides’ novel. I quickly fell under the spell of TVS, but I had a hard time buying into the premise that these boys would be so obsessed with this girl so many years after her disappearance. To me the voices just didn’t ring true.

    • I agree Steph, it’s not a mystery at all. I think had I gone into it realizing that, my reaction may have been a bit different. At the same time though, I couldn’t stop comparing it to The Virgin Suicides, and like you, I thought it paled in comparison, so maybe my reaction wouldn’t be any different even if I had known what to expect.

  10. That’s too bad! I have this one on my shelf because I like books in that sort of multi-narrator sort of thing. I’ll have to be sure not to think its a mystery so maybe I’ll like it better.

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