Review: ‘The Nobodies Album’ by Carolyn Parkhurst

by Kim on February 8, 2012 · 21 comments

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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!

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