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Excerpt from The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Fates Will Find Their Way

A Novel

by Hannah Pittard

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard X
The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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Print Excerpt


Trey, feeling excluded and irritated at being the last to find out, confessed to having had sex with Nora the month before. He wondered aloud about whether this might have had something to do with her disappearance. We doubted it strongly, as well as the fact that he’d had sex with her at all, and we said so, but he told us about her uniform and the way she lifted her skirt but didn’t take it off. He told us about her knee socks and how one stayed up while the other got pushed down. He told us about the skin on her legs, which was white and pink and stubbly. There were crumbs on her knees, he said. Crumbs from the carpet in his basement.

One at time, when we each felt we weren’t being looked at, we ran our hands across the carpet, feeling for the crumbs—perhaps the very same crumbs—that might once have snuggled between the tiny blond hairs on Nora Lindell’s kneecaps. It was exactly how we’d have imagined having sex, if we’d ever dared to imagine it, and so we let ourselves believe Trey Stephens, his reality so closely overlapping our own fantasies.

He went on to tell us, now having our trust and attention, that the summer before she’d actually shaved her legs in front of him. Though this seemed even more unlikely than the sex—doubtful they’d be in a basement by themselves, let alone a bathroom— we closed our eyes at the beauty of the notion, at the very possibility of the idea. We closed our eyes and saw what Trey Stephens had seen. Some of us imagined her sitting in the bathtub. Others saw her standing, first her left leg propped up on the shower ledge and then her right. We begged Trey for more details, though deep down we knew that too many specifics would shatter the images we’d formed so delicately in our minds.

Drew Price—who insisted almost daily and somewhat frantically that he would one day be as tall as his father, which suggested he didn’t know or didn’t believe what the rest of us knew and believed, that Mr. Price wasn’t his real father—said he’d seen Nora at the bus station on the day of Halloween. Winston Rutherford also said this, but he said she got into the passenger side of a beat-up Catalina just before the bus pulled out. The meeting place was a distraction, he said, meant to throw off possible witnesses like Drew Price. “Don’t feel bad,” Winston told Drew. “That’s what anybody would have thought. It’s just I kept looking. I saw what really happened.” The driver of the Catalina was a man, but beyond that Winston’s description of both man and car changed constantly.

Sometimes the Catalina had a broken taillight. Sometimes the rear window had a bullet hole. Sometimes the driver had a ponytail. Sometimes he had a mustache like a sailor. Always he smoked a cigarette.

As our curfew drew nearer, the stories became more lurid, more adult, more sinister, and somehow more believable. Sarah Jeffreys—who’d abandoned the girls that night in favor of our company, perhaps for the protection of boys and would-be men, though perhaps merely to avoid the clingy sadness of the girls, their willowy voices, their insistence that It could have been me!—said she drove Nora Lindell to the abortion clinic in Forest Hollow the day before Halloween, which seemed to lend credence to Trey Stephens’ claim that he’d had sex with her the month before. Sarah had been sworn to secrecy, which is why she said she would never tell Nora’s father. She—Nora— had taken the pregnancy test at school, while Sarah waited one stall over. Sarah said someone had left the window open in the girls’ bathroom in the gymnasium and that Nora had complained that it was too cold to pee. Details like this we found convincing. A detail we didn’t find convincing was that we’d never seen Sarah and Nora together before. We pointed this out. “Anyway,” said Sarah. “Three hours after I dropped Nora off, I picked her up. She was standing right where I’d left her. We drove back to town together.”

Excerpted from The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. Copyright © 2011 by Hannah Pittard. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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