I was quite puzzled to receive my ARC of The Nobodies Album, because I had forgotten I asked for one, then I saw "...author of The Dogs of Babel" on the cover and sat down almost immediately to start reading. Carolyn Parkhurst tells the story of an author and mother, an estranged son, tragedy, and reconciliation beautifully, without becoming emotionally overwrought or cliched. I found the device of the "final chapter revisions" to be a little awkward and disruptive at times, but I understand the purpose of it--who among us doesn't occasionally wish we could rewrite certain chapters of our lives? Overall this story flowed easily towards a surprising conclusion and kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
Rated of 5
by Cecilia Z. (Montclair, New Jersey)
So Much More Than a Good Mystery
I am a fan of Carolyn Parkhurst and enjoyed her two previous novels, but found The Nobodies Album exceptional. It really shows her growth as a writer. This novel has so many levels. It deals with relationships, especially between a parent and child. It examines how an individual can survive the most profound tragedy. It addresses the art of writing itself, exploring how much of the author's life becomes the narrative as well as questioning whether the narrative can rewrite life. Most of all, it is about forgiveness and redemption. The story within a story is unusual, but works well, especially in light of the theme of rewritten endings. I found this to be a meaningful and memorable book.
Rated of 5
by Mary Ellen (Canfield, OH)
This is an engrossing novel which this reader couldn't wait to finish and was distraught when she did. It combines a mystery with a family drama, skillfully presented by an inventive author. The murder mystery aspect is secondary to the exploration of family relationships and might have been more fully developed, although there are various other "mysteries" within the novel which are absorbing and memorable. Although this is the first Parkhurst novel I have read, it will not be the last.
Rated of 5
by Phyllis R. (EAST NEW MARKET, MD)
Mother and Son Reunion
Octavia Frost turns in her latest novel, in which she rewrites endings of earlier novels, on the day that she learns her son Milo has been arrested for murder. How she examines their relationship and her possible responsibility for his situation comprises THE NOBODIES ALBUM. There are many mysteries to be solved, not least of which is Milo's guilt or innocence. Alternating between the rewritten endings and the current situation, this well-written novel held this reader's interest throughout. What really happened to her husband and daughter? Is Milo guilty? Will Octavia write a new ending to her life? We come to care about the characters Parkhurst has created and hope for a happier future for them.
Rated of 5
by Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
Outstanding Literary Mystery
Carolyn Parkhurst has once again succeeded in surprising her readers. In the "Nobodies Album", Octavia Frost, an enigmatic author whose latest work focuses on rewriting the endings of her previous novels, manages to rewrite her relationship with her estranged son while helping him cope with both a current and past tragedy. Once begun, the reader feels compelled to continue; what happened to Octavia's husband and daughter, what caused Octavia's and Milo's estrangement, who murdered Bettina? The "excerpt" chapters from Octavia's new manuscript help to increase the reader's curiosity and provide for the novel's excellent pacing. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will wholeheartedly recommend it. Now that I've finished "The Nobodies Album" I'd love to be able to move onto every one of Octavia Frost's novels! Alas, they don't exist; just like the songs on Milo's Nobodies Album.
Rated of 5
by Elizabeth D. (Maple Grove, MN)
I loved this book. The idea of an author going back and rewriting the final chapters of her books is intriguing and was handled well in this novel. The "final chapter" excepts are like short stories scattered throughout a novel, and I wished more than one of these fictional books actually existed. I was very moved by a number of them. I liked the exploration of the writing process, and the reminder that when an author is making even the smallest of decisions, she or he is foreclosing a multitude of other options (much like life). While that's not a new idea, I thought it was interesting that the fictional author, Olivia, says early on in the book that when a reader is finished with a book, the reader should feel like the conclusion was inevitable, that it couldn't have been wrapped up any other way. I know what she meant, having read a few books where the ending was so wrong. And yet... the options are endless. This is a book I want to read again (uncommon for me), since I believe it's one in which I'll discover something new. There was one piece of recurring symbolism that I'm not sure I understood - I may want to contact Carolyn Parkhurst to see if my interpretation is correct!
Rated of 5
by Susan P. (Boston, MA)
You Don't Want to Read On But You Can't Stop
Carolyn Parkhurst has done it again: She's written a very disconcerting book (Dogs of Babel was very upsetting) that bothers me but I couldn't stop reading. I had to finish it! The central character, a novelist, has just finished her last book -- a book with the endings to all her previous novels changed. As a lover of fiction, I found this unacceptable. Yet I wanted to see what she would write and then I found myself trying to decide which ending I liked better. All this is scattered through the story of her son, a rock musician, accused of murder. The mysteries of who did the murder, why mother and son were estranged, and why she wanted to change endings makes you realize that Ms. Parkhurst is very talented. This book is for mystery lovers, and also perfect for those who cares about fiction and what it says about the writer.
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...