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by Carolyn Parkhurst

From the bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel comes a dazzling literary mystery about the lengths to which some people will go to rewrite their past. Bestselling novelist Octavia Frost has just completed her latest book—a revolutionary novel in which she has rewritten the last chapters of all her previous books, removing clues about her personal life concealed within, especially a horrific tragedy that befell her family years ago. On her way to deliver the manuscript to her editor, Octavia reads a news crawl in Times Square and learns that her rock-star son, Milo, has been arrested for murder. Though she and Milo haven’t spoken in years—an estrangement stemming from that tragic day—she drops everything to go to him. The “last chapters” of Octavia’s novel are layered throughout The Nobodies  Album—the scattered puzzle pieces to her and Milo’s dark and troubled past. 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 this story will come to a close. Universally praised for her candid explorations of the human psyche, Parkhurst delivers an emotionally gripping and resonant mystery about a mother and her son, and about the possibility that one can never truly know another person.
Download The Nobodies Album: A Novel epub
ISBN: 0385527691
ISBN13: 978-0385527699
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Women's Fiction
Author: Carolyn Parkhurst
Language: English
Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1682 kb
FB2 size: 1580 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 270
Other Formats: lrf docx doc rtf

I had a hard time with this novel, although I see I am in the clear minority on this. This is a novel about a novelist (Octavia Frost) who is re-writing the endings to her earlier works. But before Ms. Frost can deliver her re-done endings to her publisher, she learns that her rock star son (Milo) has been arrested for murder. So, Ms. Frost heads to California where Milo is holed up in a mansion belonging to an even more famous rock star. The main story line gets interrupted with publisher's summaries of Ms. Frost's work, followed by original endings, followed by re-written endings. Each of five revised novels (My Only Sunshine, Carpathia, Sanguine, Rule of the Chalice, Crybaby Bridge) has its own set of characters and keeping storylines and characters straights becomes somewhat unwieldy. Of the five re-finished novels, only Crybaby Bridge seems to have any relevance to the main storyline. Although I can appreciate Parkhurst's creativity, I'm still puzzled about what the other four stories contributed to the overarching narrative.

The overarching narrative, when you get back to it again and again, is a story of estrangement, misunderstanding, reconciliation and forgiveness. But it is also a super-hokey mystery with pretty flimsy coincidences and silly clues. A sugar bowl that contains a hand-written note that states "Someone is lying." Ms. Frost's high school friend who just happens to be a friend of the murdered victim's mother and just happens to sneak Ms. Frost inside. A cemetery that can't be located until it is. Bumbling idiot police detectives. On the one hand, there is a lot of authentic self-examination of motherhood on the part of Ms. Frost's character. And undoubtedly, Carolyn Parkhurst is a great writer. But for me, the frequent (and lengthy) interruptions of the re-written novels and the Scooby-doo-esque mystery diminished from the novel as a whole.
I loved Parkhurst's Dogs of Babel even though I found the dog storyline somewhat unbelievable. I think this book is a much more restrained, cohesive book, but it still suffers from an unrealistic storyline and two conveniently-related plots that run side by side.

Nobodies Album is about Octavia Frost, a successful novelist, who has just completed the work of a lifetime: she's rewritten the endings to all of her previous novels. Then she finds out that her 28-year-old son Milo has been arrested for murdering his girlfriend. He's been caught literally red-handed. Milo is the singer in a super-famous rock band, so this isn't just a family crisis, it's front page news. Octavia immediately flies out to California to see her son, only she and the son haven't spoken to each other in years. The reason for their estrangement is explained gradually through the endings of each of Octavia's books.

The book is sort of alternately brilliant and cheesy at the same time, thus my comparison to her earlier book. The book gives us, gradually, the last chapters (original and rewrite) from all of Octavia's novels. This was a really cool way to show us who Octavia is as a person, and also why Milo resents her so much. At the same time, the whole change-the-ending theme was a little over the top, as was Milo's superstardom and the sensational nature of the murder.

Parkhurst takes us deeply into the persona of a successful novelist who puts all of her emotional conflict into her work. Octavia isn't a very likeable parent, but she does seem real and her struggles seem like honest ones.

Like Dogs of Babel, Parkhurst combines the reality of grief and the blame and confusion that follows, with a fairly unrealistic story that just seems a little too hard to buy. Octavia the successful writer, Milo the superstar, his friend the aging hipster rock star, and the cast of characters who may or may not have committed a brutal murder.

And yet the relationship between Milo and Octavia will draw you in, and in the end, I have to recommend this book just as much as I would recommend Dogs of Babel. It may be flawed, but Parkhurst's writing is vastly more memorable than most of what I read.
What a fantastically affecting, thought-provoking book. The Nobodies Album tells the story of Octavia Frost, an author of relative renown, who has just written her latest book, which is a collection of rewritten endings of all of her other books. As she readies to turn the manuscript into her editor, she finds out that her estranged son, Milo, a rock star, has been accused of brutally murdering his girlfriend, Bettina.

Octavia struggles with trying to rebuild a relationship with her son, despite all of the baggage both of them carry, having not spoken in more than four years. Interspersed with Octavia and Milo's story are the original concluding chapters of all of Octavia's novels as well as her planned rewrites of each. And as you get to know more about her life and her relationship with Milo, reading excerpts of each book becomes a more fascinating meditation on whether art truly does imitate life.

Carolyn Parkhurst is a terrific author. Her first book, The Dogs of Babel, is one of the most memorable books I've ever read, and this book proves she hasn't lost her touch. Octavia and Milo are fascinating, multi-layered characters, imbued with all of the foibles of real people struggling with life. There were several times I worried this book was veering into amateur detective territory or some other cliche, but happily, Parkhurst didn't steer me wrong. This is a beautifully written book which takes you on an emotional and intellectual journey, and I highly recommend it.