Monday, January 24, 2011

Reading "The Fates Will Find Their Way"

I'm currently reading Hannah Pittard's debut novel, The Fates Will Find Their Way. So far, it's been a pretty good ride. The novel is a sort of meditation on the changes wrought in the lives of a group of teenagers when one of them (a girl called Nora) goes missing on Halloween. Everyone knew Nora, or knew who she was, or thought they knew who she was, and everyone becomes obsessed with what could have happened to her, and this obsession follows the teenagers into adulthood and beyond.

It's written in first-person plural, the "we" being the neighborhood boys. I worry that this point of view choice will become emotionally distancing--merely a mannerism or a prose experiment taken on too long a ride--but Pittard is handling it well at this point (I'm only about 1/4th of the way into the novel). She's structuring the narrative such that the tale at times seems to be told from a third-person limited omniscient POV, and the changes between these sections are pretty seamless. It will be interesting to see how long this can be sustained. One of my favorite tropes so far--only possible with this first-person plural POV--has been how one character will talk about the missing girl (telling of meeting her by chance at an airport or bus station, or of having slept with her once), and the narrative "we" will express doubts as to the truth of this testimony. "We didn't believe him, but we tried to imagine that it was the truth." Sort of the lurid desires of the audience.

Anyway, I'm enjoying it so far and it's nice to find something new (it doesn't actually come out until February) that doesn't annoy me right off. I'm a twitchy, difficult audience, I am. But this seems to be a smart, grown-up book and I hope Ms. Pittard doesn't fuck it up. Fingers crossed.

No comments:

Post a Comment