Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review - The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard

Hannah Pittard's first novel, The Fates Will Find Their Way, is a fascinating concept novel.  Pittard is an accomplished short story writer.  In this novel, she creates a well-paced narrative and effectively uses interesting storytelling techniques.

On Halloween night in a mid-Atlantic state, sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell disappears.  This is how the novel assertively opens: "Some things were certain; they were undeniable, inarguable.  Nora Lindell was gone, for one thing.  There was no doubt about it."

The story then develops into a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, spinning out possible narratives of what might have happened to Nora.  (She probably did this, she might have done that.)  The possibilities of what might have happened to Nora are told and then retold, carrying the novel forward.  While the grammatical form is a little unfamiliar in a novel, Pittard manages it very well.  In parallel, Pittard tells the story of what actually did happen to Nora's sister and father and the community in which they all lived. 

What makes the novel even more interesting is that it is written in the first person plural.  The narrator is a group of boys who were Nora's classmates.  The "we" are intrigued by Nora's teenage sexuality and, for the rest of their lives, the boys wander aimlessly through marriages, divorces, crimes and death still in the clutches of Nora and what might have been.  Pittard nailed the group voice.  If the first person plural is of interest to you, you should also read  Joshua Ferris' hysterical (and yet sad) examination of office life in Then We Came to the End.

Recommendation: The mix of the first person plural voice and the choose-your-own-adventure approach to the novel makes it a refreshing and inventive book.  Pittard expertly develops the story like a carefully crafted kaleidoscope.

Other reviews: Book Lady's Blog, Devourer of Books, Shelf Love and Book Sake.

Interview with Pittard here.

The publisher's discussion of the book:

No comments:

Post a Comment