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Review: ‘The Nobodies Album’ by Carolyn Parkhurst

Title: The Nobodies Album
Author: Carolyn Parkhurst
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Year: 2010
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: The Nobodies Album is not a book I would have picked up if not for the recommendation of a trusted blogger, Rebecca (The Book Lady’s Blog). Rebecca is one of my go-to sources of literary fiction recommendations — if she likes a book. there’s a better-than-average bet that I’m going to enjoy it too. I think we’ve all got a blogger like that, right? Anyway, when I read Rebecca’s review of The Nobodies Album, I was intrigued enough to pick up a copy from my local library.

The book starts out with deceptively simple plot: Octavia Frost, a bestselling novelist, is on her way to her editor to deliver a manuscript of her most recent book — a novel comprised of rewritten endings to her previous books — when she learned that her estranged, musician son Milo has been accused of murdering his girlfriend. Octavia immediately flies out to San Francisco to be near Milo, even though she doesn’t quite know what to do once she gets there. The book follows Octavia’s dual mission to reconnect with her son and use her novelist’s instinct for plot to see if she can figure out what happened the night Milo is accused of murder (a night he can’t entirely remember).

As I wrote in a recent post on Book Riot, once I started reading this book I just couldn’t stop. I picked it up in the middle of my early January reading slump at about 9:30 on Sunday night, and didn’t put it down until I finished about three hours later. It takes a special sort of book to keep me from going to bed. I value my sleep more than a lot of things.

I have a bit of a literary weakness for novels that pull together different types of stories, which is one of the things The Nobodies Album does best. It’s a book that is part murder mystery, part relationship exploration and part meditation on writing and our role in rewriting our own stories. There are a lot pieces moving around, but Parkhurst seems to effortlessly blend them together in a way that I can’t quite explain. I’d love to read this book again, when I’m not quite so sleep deprived, to see if I can parse it together more clearly.

I’m really glad to have stumbled across The Nobodies Album. It hit a lot of my literary buttons and helped jump start my reading at a time when I was struggling to get through a book. Even of literary mystery isn’t normally your genre of choice, this book is worth checking out.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) February 8, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I book that keeps you up late at night is truly special. This one sounds terrific!

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:36 pm

      I love coming across a book that you just can’t put down. This one made me happy.

  • Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm February 8, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I just heard Rebecca talking about this one on the Bookrageous podcast! Adding it to the to-read pile… :)

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:37 pm

      I hope you get a chance to read it!

  • Jeanne February 8, 2012, 6:25 pm

    Now I’m going to have to look for this one. I’ve liked other novels by this author, but was waiting to hear what others thought about her latest.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:38 pm

      This is the first of her novels that I’ve read, but I’ll be looking for others to try. Any recommendations?

  • Jenny February 8, 2012, 7:47 pm

    I ordinarily wouldn’t pick this up either, but your recommendation makes me want to try it. I have been dying for a book that I couldn’t put down — I’ve had a few good nonfiction reads recently, but it just isn’t the same.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:39 pm

      I think you should give it a try! I was unexpectedly a big fan. And yeah, great nonfiction just isn’t quite the same as getting pulled into a great story, as much as I love nonfiction :)

  • Amused February 8, 2012, 10:40 pm

    Oh my goodness this sounds like an engrossing novel for sure! I will have to add it to my list.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:39 pm

      I think the murder mystery plot line is what keeps things moving along, but all of the other stories make it special.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) February 9, 2012, 3:17 am

    I loved this book! I think it would benefit from a re-read as I’m sure there are a lot of clever things I missed. I’m so pleased to see that you enjoyed it too.

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:40 pm

      I was so tired by the end of it, I’m sure I missed some pretty great bit and pieces near the end. I’ll be rereading it eventually.

  • Amy February 9, 2012, 9:37 am

    I haven’t read this book yet but fortunately I won a copy during the last readathon! I read a couple reviews of the book many months ago and recall they were positive. Your enthusiasm for the book as well as Rebecca’s recommendation and then Jackie’s affirmation for this book in her comment tells me the only smart move is for me to read The Nobodies Album as soon as I can! I love having a sure-thing, good book to look forward to. Thank you, Kim!

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:41 pm

      That’s awesome! I can’t wait to hear what you think once you read it.

  • Steph February 9, 2012, 4:20 pm

    I read this one a while ago when it was first released and really liked it! I think Parkhurst did a great job of including different elements into her book that would make it appealing to a variety of readers, but still had the book feel like a cohesive unit. And it was definitely one of those books that I read compulsively!

    • Kim February 9, 2012, 7:43 pm

      Yes, there are so many sorts of stories in this one, it really has some wide appeal. I’m impressed by the way she pulled it all together.

  • Unruly Reader February 26, 2012, 6:04 pm

    I really liked this book, too. And it makes a great book discussion book — all those issues…

    • Kim March 3, 2012, 6:42 pm

      Yeah, there are a lot of things to talk about, different relationships and questions about writing/storytelling. I’d love to talk about this one with people.