The Nobodies Album

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Nobodies Album
by Carolyn Parkhurst

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."

Check out Sandy’s review, which convinced me to read this one in the first place.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I've been meaning to listen to the audio version on my iPod but just haven't. I do like the sound of this on Melissa.

Sandy Nawrot said...

This would have been challenging on audio! I read it on my Kindle, and it really blew me away. So clever, and more different than anything I'd ever read. That whole scene at Yosemite completely leveled me, as we had just gotten back from there when I read this.

I'm glad you enjoyed this since you read it at my urging!!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Diane - I have so many books on my iPod right now. So little time to read!

Sandy - I think this one would have been different in print, but it was good either way.

Kailana said...

I have read Parkhurst in the past and enjoyed her, but I haven't got around to this book by her yet.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kailana - Somehow I'd never heard of her before. But I definitely want to read more now.

BookQuoter said...

This book sounds promising. Don't like it to happen often but I do enjoy those occasional in-between books that make me think about its rating, if that makes sense.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

BookQuoter - I agree about the ratings. Sometimes it's good to have ask yourself why you're giving a book the rating you picked. Sometimes I hate rating books, but I always find it so helpful on other people's blogs.

Jenners said...

I really enjoyed this one too. It was interesting to read the fake stories! I thought her first book. The Dogs of Babel, was even better and I'd highly recommend it!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jenners - I need to check that one out!