The Nobodies Album

The Nobodies Album

by Carolyn Parkhurst

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767930581
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/14/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Carolyn Parkhurst holds an MFA in fiction from American University. She is the author of two previous bestselling novels, The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, as well as a children’s book, Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly. She lives in Washington, D. C., with her husband and their two children.

Hometown:

Washington, D.C.

Date of Birth:

January 18, 1971

Place of Birth:

Manchester, New Hampshire

Education:

B.A. in English, Wesleyan University, 1992; M.F.A. in Creative Writing, American University, 1998

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
 
There are some stories no one wants to hear.  Some stories, once told, won’t let you go so easily.  I’m not talking about the tedious, the pointless, the disgusting: the bugs in your bag of flour; your hour on the phone with the insurance people; the unexplained blood in your urine.  I’m talking about narratives of tragedy and pathos so painful, so compelling, that they seem to catch inside you on a tiny hook you didn’t even know you’d hung.  You wish for a way to pull the story back out; you grow resentful of the very breath that pushed those words into the air. 

Stories like this have become a specialty of mine.  It wasn’t always that way; I used to try to write the kind of story everyone wanted to hear, but I soon learned what a fool’s errand that was.  I found out there are better ways to get you.  “I wish I hadn’t read it,” a woman wrote to me after she finished my last novel.  She sounded bewildered, and wistful for the time before she’d heard what I had to say.  But isn’t that the point—to write something that will last after the book has been put back on the shelf?  This is the way I like it.  Read my story, walk through those woods, and when you get to the other side, you may not even realize that you’re carrying something out that you didn’t have when you went in.  A little tick of an idea, clinging to your scalp, or hidden in a fold of skin.  Somewhere out of sight.  By the time you discover it, it’s already begun to prey on you; perhaps it’s merely gouged your flesh, or perhaps it’s already begun to nibble away at your central nervous system.  It’s a small thing, whatever it is, and whether your life will be better for it or worse, I cannot say.  But something’s different, something has changed.

And it’s all because of me.
 

The plane rises.  We achieve lift-off, and in that mysterious, hanging moment, I say a prayer—as I always do—to help keep us aloft.  In my more idealistic days, I used to add a phrase of benediction for all the other people on the airplane, which eventually stretched into a wish for every soul who found himself away from home that day.  My good will knew no bounds; or maybe I thought that the generosity of such a wish would gain me extra points and thereby ensure my own safety.  But I stopped doing that a long time ago.  Because, if you think about it, when has there ever been a day when all the world’s travelers have been returned safely to their homes, to sleep untroubled in their beds?  That’s not the way it works.  Better to keep your focus on yourself and leave the others to sort themselves out.  Better to say a prayer for your own wellbeing and hope that, today at least, you’ll be one of the lucky ones. 
It’s a short flight: Boston to New York, less than an hour in the air.  As soon as the flight attendants can walk the aisles without listing too much, they’ll be flinging pretzels at our heads in a mad effort to get everything served and cleaned up before we’re back on the ground, returned to the world of adulthood, where we’re free to get our own snacks. 

I have in my lap, displayed rather importantly, as if it were a prop in a play no one else realizes is being performed, the manuscript of my latest book, The Nobodies Album.  This is part of my ritual: there’s my name, emblazoned on the first page, and if my seatmate or a wandering crew member should happen to glance over and see it—and if, furthermore, that name should happen to have any meaning for them—well then, they’re free to begin a conversation with me.  So far, it’s never happened.

The other rite I will observe today concerns what I will do with this manuscript once I arrive in New York.  This neat stack of white and black, so clean and tidy; you’d never know from looking at it what a living thing it is.  Its heft is satisfying—I’ll admit that to hold its weight in my hands gives me a childish feeling of look what I did!—but the visuals are disappointing.  Look at it and you’ll see nothing more than a pile of paper; there’s no indication of the blood that circulates through the text, the gristle that holds these pages together.  This is why, when it comes time to surrender a new book to my publisher, I make it a rule to do it in person; I want to make sure no one forgets the humanity of this exchange.  No email, no overnighting, no couriers; I will carry my book into those offices, and I will deliver it to my editor, person to person, hand to hand.  I’ve been doing it since I finished my second novel, and I have no intention of stopping now.  It makes for a pleasant day.  I will have a fuss made over me; I will be taken to lunch.  And when I leave, I will keep my eyes turned forward so I won’t see the raised eyebrows and the looks exchanged, the casual toss that will land my manuscript in the exact place a mailroom clerk would have dropped it, had I saved myself all this trouble.  My idiosyncrasies are my right, and as long as everyone does me the courtesy of not mocking them to my face, we’ll all get along fine.

Not that any of these people has ever been anything less than lovely to me.  I suppose I’m a little more attuned to these kinds of thoughts today, because I know that there have been a few…questions about the book I’m turning in.  This book is different from anything I’ve done in the past; in fact, I’m going to puff myself up a little bit and say that it’s different from anything anyone has done in the past, though there isn’t a writer alive who hasn’t thought about it.  The Nobodies Album isn’t a novel, though every word of it is fiction; do you see me talking around it now, building up the suspense?  Can you hear the excitement creeping into my voice?  Because what I’ve done here is nothing short of revolutionary, and I want to make sure the impact is clear.  What I’ve done in this book is to revisit each of the ten novels I’ve published in the last thirty years, and to rewrite the ending of each one.  The Nobodies Album is a collection of every last chapter I have ever written, each one tweaked and reshaped into something completely new.  Can you imagine what happens when you rewrite the ending of a book?  It changes everything.  Meaning shifts; certainties are called into question.  Write ten new last chapters and all at once, you have ten different books.

It’s possible, though, that not everyone sees the beauty of this idea as clearly as I do.  When I first mentioned my plans to my agent and my editor, they were not entirely enthusiastic.  “People love your books the way they are,” they both told me in their own separate, ass-kissing ways.  “Readers might get angry at you for messing with these novels they care about so deeply.”  Oh, they were so concerned, so solicitous of me and my legions of fans…it was almost enough to make me reconsider.

But of course it’s all bullshit.  It’s true that people come to feel proprietary about certain books, and once the author has done his part, they want him to back away politely; otherwise, he’s an embarrassing reminder that these stories didn’t spring to life full-formed.  I suppose that if Shakespeare were to reappear and say, “I was wrong about Romeo and Juliet; they didn’t die tragically, they lived long enough to get married and lose their teeth and make each other miserable,” there might be hell to pay.  But I’m not Shakespeare, and nobody involved with publishing this book is afraid readers are going to care too much.  They’re afraid they’re not going to care at all.
 

I’ve planned to arrive early—I don’t love New York, but I respect it, restless beast that it is, and it seems rude to me to pass through it too quickly.  So from the airport, I take a cab to the 42nd Street library; I like to poke around their collection of early 20th century photographs and stereographic cards.  A crucial scene in my seventh novel, in fact, was inspired by a 1902 postcard I came across here several years ago, though I can’t get too nostalgic about it, since the new version in The Nobodies Album wipes that scene clear away. 

My favorite picture today is from the same era.  Entitled “Morning Ride, Atlantic City, NJ,” it depicts several couples (and one standard poodle) being pushed down the boardwalk in a fleet of odd three-wheeled wicker carriages.  The women are all wearing extravagant hats; the dog, wind in its fur, looks happier than anyone.  I doubt I’ll ever use it for anything.  I don’t expect to do any period writing in the near future, and the idea of the sheer research that would be necessary to write a single paragraph about this image—are they riding in surreys? landaus? rickshaws?—exhausts me.  But I spend an hour making disjointed notes anyway, because you never know where ideas are going to come from, and as my eighth grade Latin teacher used to say, “muscles train the mind.”

I’m a little uncertain, actually, about what role writing will play in my life from this point forward.  Working on this last book has allowed me to see certain uncomfortable truths about the whole process.  I’ve always known that the best part of writing occurs before you’ve picked up a pen.  When a story exists only in your mind, its potential is infinite; it’s only when you start pinning words to paper that it becomes less than perfect.  You have to make your choices, set your limits.  Start whittling away at the cosmos, and don’t stop until you’ve narrowed it down to a single, ordinary speck of dirt.  And in the end, what you’ve made is not nearly as glorious as what you’ve thrown away.

The final product never made me happy for very long.  A year out, and I was already seeing the flaws, feeling the loss of those closed-off possibilities.  But I always figured that once a book was published, my part in it was done.  Finished; time to move on.  But The Nobodies Album shines a light behind that scrim.  It turns out, there’s no statute of limitations on changing your mind.  You don’t ever have to be done.  And if you’re never done, then what’s the point in beginning?  I drop my notes in the trash on the way out of the building.

It was my son Milo who came up with the phrase “The Nobodies Album.”  He’d just turned four.  He’d developed an interest in music and often engaged in games to stretch our extensive but finite record collection into something that could match the breadth of his imagination.  The Nobodies Album was, simply enough, an album containing songs that do not exist.  Have you ever heard the Beatles’ version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”? he’d ask me, walking around our living room in a wide circle.  No, I’d say—I didn’t realize they ever sang that.  Well, they did.  His face would be serious, but his voice would swell wide with the excitement of creating something new.  It’s on the Nobodies Album.  Oh, of course, I’d say, I love that album, and I could see my words travel through his body, so happy I was playing along he’d almost vibrate, until it seemed like he might just crack open with joy.

Milo is now twenty-seven and the lead singer of a band whose songs most certainly exist, even if they’re not always entirely to my taste.  We haven’t spoken in almost three years.  My use of this childhood phrase of his is one part appropriation—the writer’s narcissistic view that everything I come across is mine, mine, mine—and one part transparent stab at reconciliation.  If I were being honest, I would have added a subtitle: See, honey? See what Mommy remembers?

I walk down the steps, past the lions, to Fifth Avenue.  It’s a dim day, early in November, and the sky is entirely without color.  The air tastes cold and burnt.  The sidewalks are crowded, and I join the moving swell. 

Milo’s band is called Pareidolia, and they’ve had a fair bit of success, though whether they’re here to stay or are simply the taste of the moment remains to be seen.  I can never be certain when I open a magazine that I won’t come across his face somewhere inside.  Not that it’s unwelcome when it happens—of course, it’s most of the reason I buy those kinds of magazines—but it’s jarring, and it leaves me feeling hollow and unsettled for the rest of the day.  Still, it’s allowed me to keep up with him, after a fashion.  I know that he’s bought a house in San Francisco, and that he’s been dating a pointy-faced little mouse named Bettina something.  I’ve seen them dancing together at a club he owns a piece of; I’ve seen them walking on the beach, throwing sticks for dogs whose names I may never know.   

I turn right onto Forty-Second Street.  It’s almost time for my meeting, and I should get a cab soon, but I’m feeling suddenly apprehensive, and I’d like a few more minutes on my own before stepping into my public skin.  A few minutes in the visual chaos of Times Square, where I am nobody to no one, and this brick of a book I’m carrying holds no more significance than a pile of handbills.  Perhaps less, because who can really say what’s worth more in the cool of the day: a parcel of story fragments, or the promise of remarkable prices on electronic goods?

It’s extraordinary, this assault of color and light, this riot of information, though the people moving through it seem barely to notice.  I try to absorb it all—the neon, the colossal ads, the day’s news moving past on the side of a building.  I dabble in a bit of time travel: if I were a woman from the 18th century (or the 17th or the 5th), and I found myself suddenly in the middle of this tumultuous place, how would I respond to a landscape so terrible and bright?  For a moment, I’m able to fill myself with wonder and fear, but I can’t maintain it for long.  My 21st century eyes are jaded, and in the end, this is nothing I haven’t seen before.

Several of my novels have had their origins in game playing of this sort.  My last book before this one, a spectacular failure entitled My Only Sunshine, came into being when I had occasion to hold a cousin’s new baby and I began to wonder what might be going on inside his soft, slightly conical little head.  The most basic of human mysteries—how do we think when we have no language, when we know nothing more than how to swallow, how to suck?—and yet every person on the earth has the answer stashed away in some jellied gray furrow of brain.  Not such an original thought (quite a banal one, really), but on that day it seemed as if I had discovered something new.  What if, I thought, which is the way books are always born.  What if I wrote a novel from the point of view of a newborn baby?  Start in the womb and carry it through the first six months or so.  Finish before she can sit without toppling, before she can lift a cup or blow a kiss.  What will she make of the family she’s been born into?  What will the reader understand that the protagonist herself cannot?  

Not much, according to critics and consumers alike.  Except for one reviewer, who said a few nice things about the way my books succeed at capturing “the texture of life,” the response was fairly tepid.  I’m sure that people will see a link between the failure of that book and my decision to write The Nobodies Album, and it’s true that My Only Sunshine was the first book I thought about revising post-publication.  But I’m not that easy to sway.  If writers ran to change their books every time they got a few bad reviews, then libraries would be very confusing places.

I check my watch; it really is time to get going.  I hail a cab and get inside, tell the driver the intersection I’d like to go to.  As he’s pulling away, I happen to turn and look out the window, and the news crawl catches my eye.  The tail end of a headline pulls at me, but I can’t be sure I’ve read it right, and then it’s gone around the side of the building.
“Wait,” I say.  My voice is strange.  “I need to get out.”

The driver makes a noise of disgust and pulls over to the curb.  Even though he’s only driven me thirty feet, I take a couple of dollars from my bag and drop them through the slot in the plexiglass partition.  I notice with some surprise that my hands are shaking. 

I get out and stand on the sidewalk, watching the news stories slide by.  People push around me; I’m touched on every side.  There’s a headline about the salaries of professional basketball players and one about wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.  And then the one I’ve been waiting for comes around again, and the world changes in a series of cheery yellow lights: “Pareidolia singer Milo Frost arrested for the murder of girlfriend Bettina Moffett.”

In the moments that follow, as I stand mute in the middle of the humming crowd, the thing I’m most aware of is my own response to this news.  I don’t scream or faint or fall to my knees; I don’t burst into tears, or lean on a wall for support, or worry that I’m going to be sick.  I feel utterly, pervasively blank.  I’m consumed with trying to understand what I’m supposed to do.  If I were writing this in a book, I wonder, how would my character react?  But this isn’t fiction; apparently, if my senses are to be believed, this is life.

For a blink of a moment, I think about getting another cab and continuing on my way to my meeting.  But of course, I don’t.  I find my phone in my purse and call my editor; I tell her that something’s come up and I won’t be able to make it to lunch.  I don’t say what’s wrong, and I can’t tell if she already knows or not.  As for the manuscript—which I suddenly resent for the weight it’s exerting on my body, the way the straps of my bag bite into my shoulder—I tell her I’ll drop it in the mail.

And then I’m free and lost.  I force myself to begin walking again, though I have no idea where I’m going.  Sometime soon, I’m going to feel this blow, and I’d rather not be standing on this radiant bruise of a street corner when that happens.  I count out the things I’m going to need: solitude, a telephone, access to a computer where I can read the rest of this story.  Someplace soft to lay my body when the spasms finally hit.

I see a hotel down the block, and it gives me something to work toward.  Don’t crack apart here in the city’s guts; it’s not going to be much longer.  Keep it together for the length of time it takes to talk to a desk clerk, ride an elevator, walk an anonymous hall.  Swipe the card and feel the door click open.  That’s all you have to do.

This is happening; this is not fiction.  And the thing about life?  It doesn’t have texture at all.  Go ahead, feel the space around you.  Do it now.  See?  It’s nothing but air.
 
 
 
 

Reading Group Guide

The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of The Nobodies Album, the dazzling literary mystery by Carolyn Parkhurst, best-selling author of The Dogs of Babel.

1. Milo invented the concept of a “nobodies album” of nonexistent songs when he was four.  What does this phrase eventually mean for his mother? How do they both use creativity to address their pain? What recurring threads are woven throughout Milo’s lyrics and Octavia’s fiction?

2. As Octavia rewrites the endings of her novels, how does she rewrite her own memories as well? How does the narrative of losing Mitch and Rosemary get revised along the way?

3. How did your opinion of Bettina and Chloe shift throughout the novel? How would you have reacted to Milo’s revelation if you had been in Bettina’s shoes? If you had been Chloe, how would you have handled the news of Milo’s upcoming marriage?

4. When Bettina’s mother, Kathy, accused Milo of domestic violence, were you willing to give Milo the benefit of the doubt? In your opinion, what did the note reading “someone is lying” really mean?

5. What makes Roland so attractive to Octavia? How does he compare to the other men she has known? Was he a good father figure for Milo?

6. My Only Sunshine is the first novel excerpted in The Nobodies Album. How does Octavia’s fiction compare to Carolyn Parkhurst’s? In what ways does the perspective of an infant girl enrich the tragic storyline of My Only Sunshine? What portraits of mothers, fathers, and their children does Parkhurst provide in varying scenes?

7. Octavia’s other novels include Carpathia, in which a distraught survivor confronts his memories of The Titanic; Sanguine, whose protagonist is wrongly accused of witchcraft; Rule of the Chalice, featuring a member of a crime-scene cleanup team whose child was a victim of brutal crime; and Crybaby Bridge, Octavia’s first published novel, written soon after the death of Mitch and Rosemary. Which of Octavia’s novels would you most want to read? Was the jacket copy enticing, capturing the true heart of the novels? How do these storylines reflect facets of Octavia’s own experience?

8. Octavia's friend Sara Ferdinand has an unusual response when she first hears the news about Mitch and Rosemary.  Do you think there's any truth to what she says?  Why do you think that it's only after this tragedy that Octavia is able to make a go of her writing career?

9. Two of Octavia’s novels are presented in a format that is different from the others. Why do you suppose she wasn’t ready to write a new ending for Tropospheric Scatter, set in Alaska and tracing the experience of an adopted child who was rescued from severe neglect? What was the effect of reading portions of the unpublished novel Hamelin alongside Octavia’s personal notes?

10. Tabloid journalism and online rumor mills represent another form of storytelling that drives The Nobodies Album. What does Octavia’s experience with the fake online interview indicate about the changing nature of storytelling in the twenty-first century and the blurred line between fact and fiction? What is the significance of the book deal Octavia receives, contingent on her producing a memoir?

11. How did you respond to the revelations regarding how Mitch and Rosemary died? Where should the blame lie? Why did the experience drive Milo and Octavia farther apart, leading eventually to four years of silence, rather than causing them to appreciate that they still had each other?

12. Discuss the book’s unique structure. What was it like to read a novel about a novelist—a book within a book? Did you look forward to getting to the next chapter excerpt, or did it feel like an interruption from the main story?  Did the structure make you think about the nature of storytelling, and way we recast our own stories as we work them into the overall narrative of our lives?

13. What do you predict for Lia’s future? How will she remember her mother, and her grandmother?

14. Parkhurst’s previous novels, Lost and Found (set on a reality show) and The Dogs of Babel (in which a grieving husband hopes that his dog can reveal the truth about how his wife died), blend mystery with careful scrutiny of her characters and their relationships. How are Parkhurst’s previous themes amplified in The Nobodies Album?

15. Octavia is a mercurial character.  She's both egotistical and also her own harshest critic.  Did you find her to be a sympathetic protagonist?  Did you like her more or less as the book went on?

16. Put yourself in Octavia Frost’s shoes for a moment:  if you could re-write the ending to The Nobodies Album, what would it be?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center e-newsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

Interviews

About the Writing of THE NOBODIES ALBUM
By Carolyn Parkhurst

Before I'd ever written a novel, I imagined that authors must be able to point to two dates on the calendar and say, "Here's when I began writing this book, and here's when I finished it." I knew that the middle part--everything in between the moment when you sit down with a blank page and the moment when you type "The End"--was going to be murky. But I figured that this much, at least--the calculation of how long you spent working on it--would be clear.

As it turns out, I was wrong. The layering of questions and images and half-phrases that eventually coalesces into the seed of a novel is subtle and complicated and begins before you commit to a single word. And, as I probably should have known, the work doesn't end the day you turn the manuscript over to your editor. The day of publication, at least, serves as a convenient endpoint. Finally, the author can say, "Okay. I've done all I can. Time to move on." At least, that's what I always thought.

Then I heard a story about an author who had made the decision to revise a short story she'd written more than thirty years earlier. The story had been published, anthologized, taught in university classes...and she'd decided it wasn't finished, after all. Honestly, I found the idea unsettling. I was a little annoyed with the writer in question for opening a door that I had assumed to be closed.

But like it or not, the idea stayed with me. Soon I had a premise--what would happen if a writer decided to change the endings to every one of her books?--and in that premise, there was a character whose desires and motivations were opaque enough that I wanted to figure them out. I was already thinking about the novels this author might have written, and how I would construct their last chapters: An epidemic which wipes out people's memories, but only the bad ones. A survivor of the Titanic finds himself haunted by strange images appearing in the cartoons he draws. A ghost-mother wages a custody battle between the living and the dead. I was already wondering: Why is she doing this? Does she think she can rewrite her past? Or is she hoping to create a new ending for her own future?

I began writing THE NOBODIES ALBUM the day I heard that news story. Or else it was the day I saw the first sentence in my head and typed the words onto a page: There are some stories no one wants to hear. Or maybe the day when I realized that there was going to be a murder to solve. I can't really say.

As for when I'll be finished with the story? It remains to be seen.

Customer Reviews

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The Nobodies Album 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I LOVED "Dogs of Babel" and recommended it to a lot of my friends. So I was very happy when I found "The Nobodies Album". I thought this book was incredible. It actually gave me chills a few times, and I had to put it down for a few moments to catch my breath! This is a really really good book. Very strong emotions. Love the way Carolyn Parkhurst writes about things that are totally original and unique, such great new ideas! I read a lot so finding something that's a completely new concept for a book is a real treat. This book has everything - mystery, love, loss, grief, very emotional. I love it and I can't wait for her next book!
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
The Nobodies Album is a multi-layered story revolving around author Octavia Frost, who has written a new book which is nothing but re-written endings to her previous books. On her way to drop her manuscript to her editor, she sees a news flash that her son, a popular rock star is being accused of killing his lover. Having being estranged from him for four years, she tries to reconnect with him and help him in his time of need. This is the meat of the novel which is also intertwined with the endings of the manuscript. In reading this story and the re-written chapters, we learn of Octavia's life and struggles and wonders if it could all have been different. Could we re-write our lives? This is an emotion journey and I enjoyed the ride, but at times found the re-written chapters a little distracting.
mcelhra on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Well-known author Octavia Frost has re-written the last chapters of all her previous novels and compiled them in her newest book, The Nobodies Album. When she arrives in New York to drop the finished manuscript off at her publisher's office, she learns that her son Milo has been arrested for murdering his girlfriend Bettina. Even though Octavia and her famous musician son have been estranged for four years, she immediately heads to California to offer her help. She discovers that Milo can't remember the events of the night his girlfriend died and doesn't know whether or not he was the one who killed her.This book is so much more than a murder mystery. Interspersed throughout the main story are exerpts from Octavia's other books that include the original last chapter and the new, revised last chapter. Octavia talks about how authors put themselves in their work whether they realize it or not. The excerpts from her other books serve to illustrate what regrets Octavia has about her life. I thought this was a unique method of telling a story and I really liked it.The murder mystery story-line was exciting and kept me guessing up until the end. Additionally, I appreciated the realism of Octavia and Milo's relationship. They were both well-developed, layered characters - relatable but not always likeable. Flashbacks to when Milo was a child help the reader understand why his relationship with his mother is so complicated today. I highly recommend The Nobodies Album.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A widowed author, a rock star son, a murder mystery, unresolved family issues, this book kind of has it all. The story bounces back and forth between the main plot, which follows author, Octavia Frost, whose adult son, rock star Milo, is arrested for murder of his girlfriend and a secondary plot. Those portions are chapters from the author¿s novels and are part of a collection called The Nobodies Album, which contains the rewritten endings of her books. At first it was jarring (at least on the audio) to switch between the fictional stories and the author¿s life, but after awhile you get into each of the stories within the larger story. It¿s really beautifully told. I found myself forgetting that Octavia isn¿t a real author and I wanted to read some of her books, particularly The Human Slice. Part of me, the cynical side I suppose, thought maybe this was a way for the author to fit a bunch of ideas for books into a single book. But even as I say that, I realized that it still worked. It doesn¿t feel forced, it just feels like an author reflecting on her books, her ¿children.¿ These things that she created and now wishes she could change. It¿s about so much more than changing books though; it¿s about living a life of regret and realizing you can¿t change what¿s already happened. I¿ve never read anything by Parkhurst before, but I kept thinking about what an engrossing voice she has. I went back and forth on my rating, because though I really enjoyed it while I was reading it, I think I¿ve grown to like it even more in the past few weeks. I keep thinking about new elements of the story and how they say so much more than they seem to at first. It¿s almost like the book is just trying to tell a story, but it can¿t help but be profound. It was an incredibly satisfying read. "Why do we think that knowing the events of someone's life gives us insight into the person they are? Certainly we react to the things that happen to us, we are not unchanged by them, but there is no format to it. You may know that a cascade of water can wear away stone, but you can't predict what shape the rock will take at any given moment."
LiteraryFeline on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Author Octavia Frost is on her way to deliver her latest manuscript to her editor when she catches a glimpse of a news story about her estranged son being arrested for murdering his girlfriend. Not sure what else to do, Octavia heads for San Francisco to be there for her son. The reception she receives is chilly, however. Milo doesn't want to see her. Just as she is thinking of returning home, she discovers a note in a sugar bowl that changes her mind. She's sure her son couldn't have committed the murder and maybe she can help prove he didn't.Octavia's world evolves around her writing, and she often looks at life through the lens of a story unfolding. She has regrets about the past, especially about her relationship with her rock star son, Milo. When Milo was nine, his father and sister died tragically, leaving just him and Octavia. She and he are a lot of alike and constantly butted heads as he was growing up. She wasn't there for him as much as she would have liked, lost in her own grief and not quite sure how to handle his.While there is a mystery aspect to the book, the main thrust of the story is of Octavia's reflection on her own life and of her relationship with her son. She is getting to know him again, as if for the first time. The author did a good job of capturing Octavia's thoughts and feelings. I wasn't sure what to think of Octavia for most of the book, but she showed a lot of growth as the novel progressed. By the end, I quite liked her.It took me a while to get into the novel. Interspersed throughout the novel were excerpts of Octavia's latest writing project, a book called The Nobodies Album. Octavia has taken to rewriting the endings to all her novels and hopes to publish them in an anthology of sorts. Had she written those same stories today, how differently would they have ended? This was her opportunity to change the past, so to speak. I was less than impressed with the excerpts, however, and think that the novel would have come off fine without them, perhaps even better if only for the lack of distraction. The same connections the author made in the excerpts were made in the actual story as well. Although, I will say the excerpts got better towards the end.There were several passages I wish now I had jotted down to share with you, phrases and ideas that caught my fancy. As a person who loves stories, I was drawn to Octavia's observations and take on life, especially in regards to her writing--how it affected her life and how her life affected her writing.While I enjoyed The Nobodies Album in the end and came to care for all of the characters, I still felt a bit disappointed when all was said and done. I do think I'd like to give the author another try. She clearly has a way with words and is able to get inside the minds of her characters.
LiterateHousewife on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Last summer I read and reviewed The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst. It was quirky and I ended up liking it. So when I saw Devourer of Books' review of her latest novel, I got excited. So excited that I bought it right away. The Nobodies Album tells the story of Octavia Frost, a popular author and her estranged rockstar son, Milo. Octavia didn't start writing until a tragic accident turned her family of four into a family of two. When the novel opens, Octavia is at a crossroads with her craft. Her latest book is an accumulation of different endings for all of her published novels. She is in the process of delivering the manuscript to her publisher in New York City when she sees the news that Milo was arrested for the murder of his live-in girlfriend across a scrolling sign. Was her son capable of murder? Even though he will have nothing to do with her, she can't ignore her maternal instincts. She kick into high gear, unable to keep her distance emotionally or physically. She has to try to help him even if he refuses her.It's been over three months since I read this book, so this review is going to be much shorter than it might have been. I loved this book just as much if not more than The Dogs of Babel. It had a similar quirky feel to it given Octavia's current project of rewriting the ending to all of her previous novels. Having them interspersed into the story at first seemed odd and then it seemed perfect. It also had so much to say about the strength of family in the face of tragedy. There was no miraculous reunion between mother and son. Instead, they both faced the hurt they'd caused one another. They began to understand the way loss can impact their actions. What really made the book for me was how the way in which Octavia tried to reclaim her life after losing her husband and daughter and the way in which this good thing for her harmed her relationship with Milo. Octavia working through that was actually quite beautiful.The only thing that bothered me with this book was the name Milo. I don't know what it is recently (see review of I'd Know You Anywhere), but if I don't latch on to a character's name, it sticks under my craw. That's my quirk alone I'm sure. Perhaps it's time for a little therapy. LOL!With a hint of mystery, murder, and plenty of family issues, The Nobodies Album is a winner. It's accessible and thoughtful. I very much appreciated that I could still recognize the author, her style, and hers ingenuity while reading something completely different. I found reading this book rewarding and would highly suggest it.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Nobodies Album could be classified as a mystery novel. After all, the plot hinges on whether novelist Octavia Frost¿s son Milo killed his girlfriend Bettina. Milo isn¿t just any old accused murderer though. He is a famous rock star¿the lead singer for a group called Pareidolia. His arrest for the murder of Bettina is national news. In fact, Octavia finds out about the murder on a news ticker in Times Square. She doesn¿t hear it from Milo directly because they¿ve been estranged for the past four years. Dropping everything (including her new novel called The Nobodies Album), Octavia flies to San Francisco to help ¿ yet she isn¿t even sure if Milo will talk to or see her. We follow Octavia as she attempts to reach out to Milo and uncover the truth about Bettina¿s murder.However, there is much more going on in this book so that calling it a ¿murder mystery¿ doesn¿t quite do it justice. Although the murder mystery propels the plot, there are several other story lines that I found just as compelling. We know from the beginning that Octavia and Milo are the only two surviving members of the Frost family, but we don¿t quite know what happened to the other two members. Another mystery is what caused the estrangement between Milo and Octavia. As you read, Parkhurst doles out bits and pieces of information that provide answers to both of these lesser (but no less interesting) ¿mysteries.¿The other aspect of the book that I enjoyed were the excerpts from Octavia¿s latest book, which is also called The Nobodies Album. The concept of the book is that Octavia is rewriting the ending of all her novels. Throughout the book, we get to read the original ending and then the revised ending. These little ¿breaks¿ from the main narrative were interesting and intriguing, and I enjoyed them quite a bit. I thought adding this aspect to the book was ambitious of Parkhurst; it wasn¿t something she needed to do.Another thing I liked about the book was the humor. I thought Octavia was pretty funny, and I was often amused by her thoughts. For example, she is constantly telling herself: ¿If this was a murder mystery, this is the part where I would talk to the doorman and discover the clue.¿ This kind of meta-narration (after all, this is a character talking about the writing of a murder mystery in a murder mystery)¿as well as the fact that Octavia¿s book and this book are both called The Nobodies Album¿was appealing to me. It seemed to me like Parkhurst was having a little fun and challenging herself.Before The Nobodies Album, the only book I¿d read by Carolyn Parkhurst was The Dogs of Babel, which was a wonderfully different story of a widow attempting to teach his dog to talk in order to discover if his wife committed suicide or died in an accident. It was a memorable and unique book, and Parkhurst managed to pull off what seems like a quirky premise and make it powerful, real and affecting. I think she managed to do the same with The Nobodies Album. Rather than just writing a straightforward murder mystery, she dabbles around with metafiction. It was a fun little experiment, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.If you¿re looking for a literary fiction book that can double as a murder mystery, The Nobodies Album would be a good choice. It has a sly sense of humor and contains some interesting experiments by the author. I definitely plan to go back and read Parkhurst¿s second novel, Lost and Found.
suetu on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Can we revise our endings?Have you ever had the experience of starting a novel and just falling in love with the protagonist right away? This isn¿t that novel. When we meet first-person narrator Olivia Frost, the best-selling novelist is flying to New York to drop off her latest manuscript at her editor¿s office. She¿s a little quirky, a little acerbic. Walking through Times Square, she¿s stopped in her tracks by a news feed. Her estranged son, the rock star Milo Frost, has just been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend.So begins Carolyn Parkhurst¿s latest, The Nobodies Album. It¿s part conventional murder mystery, part character study, and part rumination on the art and life of a novelist. For me, the book worked on all levels. I won¿t go so far as to call it a page-turner, but I was engaged by the mystery plot. The dénouement may have been obvious to some readers, but not to this one. I did warm up to Olivia and found her to be an interestingly complex character to build a novel around. But more than anything, I think, I enjoyed the insights into what it is to be a writer:¿I¿ve often wondered if writers are the ones who feel compelled to narrate their lives as they live them, to stand in the shower and wonder whether there¿s a less predictable word than `lather.¿ I used to think it made me a good writer¿look at me, honing my craft as I stand here to pour a cup of coffee, drafting and revising my descriptions of the mug, the smell, the sound of the hot splatter! Now I just find it tiresome, though it doesn¿t seem to be something I can stop. An end to narration: that¿s what I imagine death will be like.¿Olivia isn¿t just ruminating on her writing, however. A significant subplot of the novel is her desire to rewrite the endings of all of her previously published works. (And I don¿t think you need to be Freud to see the significance in that.) To that end, scattered strategically throughout the novel (in order to create maximum tension and suspense) we are treated to the jacket copy and the original and revised conclusions to Olivia¿s seven novels. These interruptions are relatively short, and read more like self-contained stories than the true final pages of books, but the overall effect reminded me of Italo Calvino¿s experimental novel If on a Winter¿s Night a Traveler. Basically, you¿d get caught up in the story snippets and feel slightly jarred when they ended. Reading back over what I¿ve written, I realize my description of this novel sounds a bit busy and overwrought. On the contrary, I thought it all came together really well. It was both entertaining and illuminating.Oh, and Ms. Parkhurst, if you¿re reading this, I¿d really like to read the entirety of Olivia¿s imaginary novel The Human Slice!
msf59 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
After experiencing a terrible family tragedy, Octavia Frost is left to care for Milo, her nine year old son. Now, nearly twenty years later, she is a successful author, unmarried and estranged from her only son. Milo is living in San Francisco and is the lead singer of a popular rock band. Octavia is in New York, ready to deliver her latest manuscript, when she learns that Milo has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Even though, he has does not want to see her, Octavia flies out to the West Coast. She is hoping to reconnect with her son, patch up their wounds, which stem from that early tragedy and possibly start her own investigation into this latest crime. Interspersed, throughout this story, are snippets of her current book, a revolutionary novel, containing revised endings of all her novels. Most of these stories turn out to be pretty fascinating and also reveal the author¿s troubled state of mind. This is a passage from the first page, where Octavia muses over her goals as a writer: ¿But isn¿t that the point-to write something that will last after the book has been put back on the shelf? This is the way I like it. Read my story, walk through those woods, and when you get to the other side, you may not even realize that you¿re carrying something out that you didn¿t have when you went in.¿This is a well-written, very inventive book and one I highly recommend.
GCPLreader on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Sometimes I tire of quirky, clever novels where the author includes a story within a story (within a story). Here Carolyn Parkhurst delivers a gorgeous metafictional novel that works. The main character is Octavia Frost, a woman who is estranged from her rockstar son and who has experienced the tragic death of her husband and daughter. Octavia is working on a new book that will revisit and rewrite the endings of her previous novels of loss. (from pg. 3) " This book is different from anything I've done in the past; in fact, I'm going to puff myself up a little bit and say that it's different from anything anyone has done in the past, though there isn't a writer alive who hasn't thought about it. The Nobodies Album isn't a novel, though ever word of it is fiction. Do you see me talking around it now, building up the suspense? Can you hear the excitement creeping into my voice? Because what I've done here is nothing short of revolutionary, and I want to make sure the impact is clear. What I've done in this book is to revisit the seven novels I've published in the last twenty years and rewrite the ending of each one." The main narrative is about Octavia reconnecting with her son who is accused of murdering his girlfriend. The murder mystery is not my favorite part, but is clearly developed as a vehicle for the mother and son to bond. What I loved were the sprinkling of the assortment of imaginary final chapters and their revisions. It is through Octavia's fiction that we feel the pain of her loss and the need to go back and fix what is wrong. The short stories do not take up much room and do not distract from the main plot. The biggest compliment I can pay is that I would love to see Parkhurst turn each of these vignettes into actual novels.Carolyn Parkhurst writes in a beautiful, literary voice. Late in the novel, Octavia reflects on the impact the deaths of her husband and daughter have had upon her writing: " Of course that day and all of the days that followed it became part of my work. It didn't feel like a choice. The profanity of death and the sacredness of grief: what more important material is there When, in each of my subsequent books, I took time to pause and consider what we had had and what we had lost, it was something like the Muslim call to prayer. Such a powerful act. Imagine taking the time to stop your ordinary life five times a day in order to turn to something holy. A supplication, a reminder. Bearing witness. A summing-up of belief. And if, in my own life and in my own work, I didn't exactly fall to my knees and touch my forehead to the ground, I performed a sort of internal bowing. I honor you. I'm thinking of nothing else. I bear witness that they were loved. I bear witness that they are not gone from my body, from my life. Make haste to remember them. Make haste toward prayer." I encourage readers to reacquaint themselves with the folktale The Pied Piper of Hamelin before reading The Nobodies Album. The author's final story-within-the story affectively reworks the old legend with brilliant results. highly recommended
framberg on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Parkhurst's novel of love, loss, and creation is absorbing and beautifully written. While the prose is mostly dispassionate, the story evoked my sympathy for characters struggling with the choices they've made and the desire to rewrite their own stories. While perhaps the plot itself is a bit pat - I knew from the moment all of the key characters were introduced who the murderer was - that complaint feels almost beside the point because the journey was a pleasure, though it dealt so intimately with loss, guilt, and grief. Through her characters, especially the protagonist Octavia Frost, herself a writer, Parkhurst shows the way we all create narratives of our own lives, pointing out the moments we wish we could revise, acknowledging that such revision is impossible and that moving forward is essential.
Kikoa on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I got this book because the premise seemed so interesting. The fictional author takes books she has already written and revises the endings. In Nobodies Album both the old ending and the new one are there side by side. As she is doing this, they parallel her life and the crisis she is faced with....The story becomes so real that I found myself believing that the real author was the writer in the story...
GarySeverance on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Nobodies Album is a very entertaining novel. The straight forward narrative style reminds me of Pat Conroy in his novel, Beach Music. The structure also is similar to the Conroy book, including breaks in the story to introduce several other stories. The narrator, Octavia, is a writer who has written novels herself and attempts to rewrite the endings from a new point of view given her current level of development. The rewrites add to the main story and are influenced by Octavia's memories of her loves and losses as a mother. I looked forward to the novels with the plots presented briefly and the endings rewritten. They built on each other and helped in understanding the characters' motivations in the mystery story involving Octavia's rock star son and an accusation of murder.Octavia examines her creative work and daily life focusing on observations of coincidence and synchronicity, women and children, loss and endurance, immediate reactions and dissociations, creative drive and withdrawal, and commitment and acceptance. A common thread through these themes is that we are the result of "all those years of accumulated decisions and acts of chance." We can revisit our past and see it in a new light, but rewriting it does not change the effects the past has had on us. Instead we should gain new insight and think about our personal histories but "write" something new to reflect our evolution as individuals.This very good novel requires concentration on the inserted novel rewrites as they set the stage for the only possible ending to the mystery story. Ms. Parkhurst gives credit in the dedication to her own father for teaching her how to tell a story. She learned her lesson well.
CMash on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Nobodies Album by Carolyn ParkhurstPublished by DoubledayISBN 978-0-385-52769-9At the request of Doubleday, a HC was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion. Synopsis (from book's jacket): Octavia Frost is a former bestselling writer in the winter of her career. In the opening pages of this dynamic novel, she arrives in New York to deliver her latest manuscript-a revolutionary new book-to her editor. But as she walks through Times Square , she sees a news crawl announcing that Milo, Frost, her rock-star son, has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Octavia and Milo haven't spoken in years, an estrangement stemming from a horrific tragedy the two of them endured when he was a child. Yet Octavia cannot help but drop everything and fly to San Francisco to try to make sense of the situation. The book Octavia was supposed to deliver contains rewritten versions of the final chapters of all her previous novels, in which she has changed her character' outcomes and removed pieces of her personal life that had been hidden within, especially concerning that terrible days years ago, These "last' chapters" and their new revisions are interspersed throughout Carolyn Parkhurst's The Nobodies Album-the scattered puzzle pieces of the troubled past Milo and Octavia share. Did she drive her son to murder? Did Milo murder anyone at all? And what exactly happened all those years ago? As the novel builds to a stunning reveal, Octavia must consider how her own story will come to a close. My Thoughts and Opinion: I had a hard time with the beginning of this book. I felt that at times it was very "wordy" and "dry", and not sure where the plot was headed. There were eight (8) chapters that had been written by the character of the author and her ground breaking concept of her newest manuscript, whereas it had the original ending of one of her prior novels and then a new and different ending. Another thing that I felt was hard to relate to, which was stated in the synopsis, and that was the many years of estrangement between the characters of mother and son. It appeared to this reader, and this is my opinion only, that son's response, was unrealistic and too nonchalant when they were reunited after many years of bitterness and being apart. On the other hand, the suspense of trying to piece together the clues of finding the murderer in the cast of characters, what was the underlying reason for the estrangement and a few other issues that I won't mention due to it containing spoilers, is what kept my interest and had me turning the pages. Since I found this novel to be a 50/50 read I will rate it accordingly. My Rating: 3
SignoraEdie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received Carolyn Parkhurst¿s new novel, ¿The Nobodies Album¿ as an Advanced Readers Copy. I had requested it because I recalled reading her previous book, ¿The Dogs of Babel¿ and thinking that while it was a bit quirky, I enjoyed it and I was eager to see what she had done in this novel. When I read the fly leaf and discovered that this was also a unique book in that it told the story of the main character¿s (author Octavia Frost) reconnection with her estranged ¿rock star¿ son when he is accused of murdering his girlfriend while also interspersing chapters that rewrite the endings of her 7 novels, I thought¿ ¿This is going to be too much work to keep straight.¿ How pleasantly surprised I was to find that that was not the case. I enjoyed every page of this book!The story of her relationship with her son is a simple one. It is told in two voices¿one the emotional longing of a mother to be reconnected with her son, the only child remaining after her husband and daughter die, and the voice of a writer, seeming to narrate the events as they unfold as if to give her some distance from the happenings to buffer her potential pain. I found Parkhurst¿s style very engaging and it held my interest. The rewritten endings of the writer¿s novels were not at all distracting. Each one was a little vignette of itself that made perfect sense in the context of the story. In the end, they demonstrated the fact that everyone lives with regrets of some kind. Everyone wonders if we had done things differently would we have had better outcomes. Everyone wishes that they might have the ability to rewrite an ending of their own.Reading this novel was like existing for a time inside a writer¿s head and observing the world and the events while writing a narration, and seeing how clearly the real and the imagined intertwined and intersected. Overall, I found this novel redeeming and I was left with the optimistic awareness that all anyone wants in life is to be loved and accepted and that our greatest strength lies in giving those we love, just that!
thelitwitch on LibraryThing 8 months ago
While the premise was good, I had a really hard time with the format of this book. The almost senseless excerpts from the fictional narrator's books didn't add much value other than to disturb and depress. Frankly, I'm tired of authors who feel the need to garner attention with these sorts of gimmicks. That aside, Parkhurst does have a certain gift for creating a mood and sustaining it. That much, at least, was done well.
Heatherlee1229 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Bestselling author Octavia Frost is in New York City to pitch her new book to her agent when she learns via the local news that her son, Milo, has been accused of murdering his girlfriend, Bettina. Though she and Milo have been estranged for four years, Octavia drops everything and travels to be with him in San Francisco. While she is learning about what her son¿s been up to for the last four years, she is also on a quest to find out who really killed Bettina, and this takes her on a journey through her own past as well.I¿d been looking forward to reading The Nobodies Album ever since I saw it listed in LibraryThing¿s Early Reviewers directory. I did win it from there, but it came much later than expected so I actually read it via the audio version from the library. I really enjoyed the audio version and I¿m sure that it is just as good, if not better, in print.One of the most compelling aspects of The Nobodies Album is Octavia herself. While she¿s not the easiest character to like, it is clear that she has a lot of demons in her past and I really wanted to understand her better. Some details of her life are revealed up front, but others emerge slowly throughout the novel. I was particularly interested to find out why she and Milo didn¿t speak for so many years and what really happened to her husband and daughter, both of whom died when Milo was a child. These pieces of the puzzle are uncovered slowly, which made me really enjoy the journey of getting to know Octavia.I probably should tell you that the book Octavia is pitching when she learns of Milo¿s situation is also called The Nobodies Album, and it is a compilation of the rewritten endings of all of her novels. In Parkhurst¿s novel, Octavia¿s endings are interspersed throughout the text, giving the reader a sort of novel-within-a-novel experience, which was interesting for me. On the one hand, I certainly enjoyed getting to know Octavia better through her own writing. But on the other hand, these snippets had a way of distracting me and making me feel impatient to get to the ¿real¿ story. So I¿m not sure that I loved this device, although it certainly added a little something extra to the book.The mystery of who killed Bettina really propelled me through the book. I was very interested to find out what really happened, and I had my suspicions, but it was interesting to see it come together and to find out, most importantly, why that person did what he/she did. I found this part of the book to be done really well.The Nobodies Album is a complex novel that has a lot of moving parts, all of which come together seamlessly in the end. There is a novel within this novel, too, and that made the entire experience just that more interesting. I enjoyed The Nobodies Album quite a bit and I¿ll be reading more of Parkhurst¿s novels whenever I can get my hands on them.
AObenhaus on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I couldn't put this book down! The characters were addictive and the plot twisted. The ending made me want more of the story! Maybe there will be another book based on Octavia and Milo? One could hope.
nfmgirl2 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Octavia Frost is a successful author, but there are times when she feels like a failure as a mother. Having lost her husband and daughter at a relatively young age, she was left to raise her young son alone. The son that she must admit she was never really very compatible with. And by all external appearances, she was a good mother. She cared well for her son, gave him every external thing he needed. But there has always been a chasm between them. Despite this, they have both succeeded. She is a successful author, he is a popular musician.Then comes the day when she learns that her son Milo has been arrested for the murder of his fiance. She rushes to his side, unsure of how to best help him, and together the two of them begin navigating the distance between them.This book started out a little slow for me, but eventually it picked up and pulled me in. The relationship between Octavia and Milo is very real and believable. Her love for him is apparent, and her desire to try to "make it all better" is genuine. But Milo harbors pain from the past, and hasn't yet found a way beyond it.The actual story is interspersed with the endings of many fictional stories, and then alternate endings for those stories. This is probably what dragged the story down. While I enjoyed a couple of the stories, most were pretty boring.All in all, this was a pretty good story. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride-- up, down, enjoyable, not so enjoyable. Overall it was pretty enjoyable, with the last third being the best of the book.
susiesharp on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was so well written and very hard to put down. Author Octavia Frost has had a successful career but has been estranged from her son Milo, a famous rock star; they have grown steadily apart since the death of her husband and daughter when Milo was 9. But tragedy is about to bring them back together again when Octavia hears a news report that her son has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend.There are excerpts from Octavia¿s books which all sound like books I would like to read! This was a story about family, failures, forgiveness and redemption. Through the words from the books Octavia has written you get glimpses into the life shared by her and Milo after the death of half of their family. Now Octavia and Milo need to work together to prove his innocence and repair their broken relationship.This was a very powerful book that flowed through the beautiful writing; it¿s so much more than a mystery but the mystery was a good one. This was my first book by Carolyn Parkhurst but for sure won¿t be my last.4 ½ Stars
julyso on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Nobodies Album is about novelist Octavia Frost, who has just finished her latest novel....a book of ending rewrites of her previous books. On her way to see her publisher, she finds out her son, Milo, has been arrested for murder. Octavia and Milo have been estranged for many years, but she flies to San Fransciso to be with her son. Octavia catches up with Milo's friends, meets his little girl, and helps him figure out what happened that night....I could have loved this book, but the format just didn't work for me. The excerpts from her novels distracted me and made it hard to keep everything straight. I liked the author's writing & I enjoyed Octavia's story. The mystery wasn't much of a mystery. In the end, I was just glad to get the book finished.
karenthib on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this book, although I wasn't at all sure the interspersing of the revised endings of the main character's novels throughout the book was going to work. I had expected it would be a distraction and a gimmick, but it added a lot of texture to the story. As the novel progressed, more and more meaning could be attributed to the new last chapters.The mystery part of the novel was a little bit unsatisfying -- I had a strong hunch who the killer turned out to be pretty early on -- but the journey was an entertaining one. A couple of the characters were slightly annoying to me -- the mother of the deceased girlfriend was a bit cliche. For as much as she was involved, I would have liked to have seen a little resolution between her and Octavia. I'm also unsure what the point of the high school friend-turned-rock-groupie-turned-facebook-friend was. Beyond her importance to one of the scenes in the book, there wasn't much use for her. All that being said, this was a very entertaining read with a lot to say about parent-child relationships, especially those made more strained by the pain of loss.
jjameli on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Nobodies Album is my introduction to Carolyn Parkhurst's writing. I'm not sure why I had preconceived notions of Ms. Parkhurst's books, but I honestly can say I was never tempted to pick up one of her books. I'm definitely doubting my instincts because I really enjoyed The Nobodies Album.The Nobodies Album is told from the perspective of bestselling author Octavia Frost, the mother of famous rock star, Milo. Milo and Octavia have been estranged for 4 years, but when Octavia learns that Milo has been arrested for murder of his girlfriend she knows she has to be at her son's side.Carolyn Parkhurst's writing flows beautifully, and dives into the core of the characters. I love the way she describes characters feelings, and thoughts. As for the story it was part mystery, part life. When I say life I mean the ups and downs of family, tragedy, relationships..life. I definitely will be picking up previous books of Ms. Parkhurst. Looking forward to getting lost in her words.
wcath on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Octavia Frost is in the act of delivering her latest book to her publisher, riding through Times Square, when she sees on the news crawl that her rock star son, Milo, estranged from her for many years has been arrested in connection with the death of his girlfriend. This begins a story that deals with the past as much as it does the present. Octavia's newest book - a compendium of rewrites of all of the endings of her previous novels - is interspersed between the chapters of the book. Can the past be rewritten? Can we change what has already happened? While attempting to support her son and figure out who killed his girlfriend, Octavia also seeks to mend the rift in their relationship. Parkhurst's writing is highly readable and her characters are believable. This is a beautifully written, thoughtful story.
RachelPenso on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I started reading this book with really low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised. The main character in the book is an author whose estranged rock-and-roll superstar son is accused of murdering his girlfriend. The story was nice and at times even exciting, but my favorite thing about the book was the main character's idea for her next book. She decided to take the endings of all her previously published books and revise them. So throughout the book, there were "excerpts" from the ending of the main character's books (which were really more like short stories for the sake of our own understanding and enjoyment) and then the new ending. I found this a very interesting concept.