The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
Octavia Frost is a very successful novelist, but she’s not entirely happy with all of her books. In fact, she would change the endings of many or most of them if she could. And, in fact, she’s reasonably certain that she can; in fact, Octavia’s latest book is not so much a story in and of itself, but a reworking of the endings of all of her previous novels. She is on her way to deliver this very work to her publisher in New York when she learns that her estranged son has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend.
“The Nobodies Album” alternates between Octavia’s journey to find out what happened with her son Milo, a famous rock star in his own right, and her manuscript with the new endings to her old books. I was very hesitant about the idea of rewritten endings of imaginary books at first, but oh my gosh, did it ever work. Parkhurst deftly wove them together with Octavia’s story, exploring the Frost’s painful past and the reason for Milo and Octavia’s estrangement as well as the question of what happened between Milo and his girlfriend. Somehow Parkhurst managed to write and re-write endings to books that provided the reader with enlightenment as to Octavia’s own story while also making them into snippets of stories that pulled me in completely. I really, really wish that some of these were real books.
I loved “The Nobodies Album.” It just had so much going for it: family strife, murder, writing and publishing, a mother’s love and guilt, and mystery. All of these elements worked together to create book that I was able to completely lose myself in. If you liked Parkhurst’s first novel, “The Dogs of Babel,” “The Nobodies Album” is just as creative and an even better book. Highly recommended