Hannah Pittard’s The Fates Will Find Their Way gets off to a good start, coming across like a mysterious and sexually charged stunner of a debut novel. Too bad it loses steam at the three-quarters mark and ends as a smoldering ember of what could have been.
One Halloween, 16-year-old Nora Lindell goes missing. The Fates Will Find Their Way is told in the collective voice of the boys from Nora’s high school as they try to imagine what happened to her, a shared obsession that haunts the boys well into adulthood. It’s a meaty plot that owes a shade more to The Lovely Bones than anyone seems interested in admitting, though Pittard’s narrative approach keeps it fresh and appealing.
Eventually, though, the hypotheses as to what became of Nora become a little too far-fetched. As time goes on and the trail goes cold, the narrators move from imagining her abduction or her life on the lam in Arizona to fantasies like envisioning her in Mumbai, for some reason, during a terrorist bombing. It fits with the chain of events because it seems natural that as the boys grow older and don’t get any new information on Nora’s whereabouts, they invent increasingly implausible twists in Nora’s story. However, it’s also a flaw in the story; the later ideas about Nora are not as interesting or relatable.