Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard

Book description:
Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence.

As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically. A collection of rumors, divergent suspicions, and tantalizing what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.

Hannah Pittard's novel tracks the emotional progress of the sister Nora left behind, the other families in their leafy suburban enclave, and the individual fates of the boys in her thrall. Far more eager to imagine Nora's fate than to scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into an adulthood of jobs, marriages, families, homes, and daughters of their own, all the while pining for a girl–and a life–that no longer exists, except in the imagination.

The central figure in this book, 16 year old Nora Liddell, never actually appears other than in the memories and speculations of the boys who were her friends. As they grow up and marry and have children of their own, they are always haunted by the memory of perfect Nora- she looms large over their psyches despite her long absence. As they debate whether or not she ran away or was abducted, whether she hopped a plane to AZ or was buried in a shallow grave it the woods, some part of them is always stuck in childhood in that focus on Nora and her family.

This is a wonderfully written book- truly original and an excellent read. Though at the beginning, I kept hoping to get some clarity on what actually happened to Nora, by the end it was clear that knowledge was unnecessary. Though Nora and her sister are in many ways the central chracters in this drama, it is the reactions of the boys around them that are the focus of this engaging novel. Highly recommended!

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