4 March 2012

Review: THE NOBODIES ALBUM, Carolyn Parkhurst

  • published Sceptre 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-340-97815-3
  • 312 pages
  • Source: my local library
Synopsis (Amazon)

Bestselling novelist Octavia Frost has just completed her latest book—a revolutionary novel in which she has rewritten the last chapters of all her previous books, removing clues about her personal life concealed within, especially a horrific tragedy that befell her family years ago.

On her way to deliver the manuscript to her editor, Octavia reads a news crawl in Times Square and learns that her rock-star son, Milo, has been arrested for murder. Though she and Milo haven’t spoken in years—an estrangement stemming from that tragic day—she drops everything to go to him.

The “last chapters” of Octavia’s novel are layered throughout The Nobodies  Album—the scattered puzzle pieces to her and Milo’s dark and troubled past. Did she drive her son to murder? Did Milo murder anyone at all? And what exactly happened all those years ago? As the novel builds to a stunning reveal, Octavia must consider how this story will come to a close.

Universally praised for her candid explorations of the human psyche, Parkhurst delivers an emotionally gripping and resonant mystery about a mother and her son, and about the possibility that one can never truly know another person.

My take

This is a novel with an intriguing, quite literary structure. It is full of little stories, some of them arising from Octavia Frost's latest project, a book that will contain rewritten endings for each of her seven novels. Octavia just wishes it were so easy to rewrite some of the passages of her real life. The little stories in the novel endings tell us quite a bit about what has happened to Olivia in real life, and it seems that she has told the reader more than she really meant to reveal.

And then there is the main thread that holds THE NOBODIES ALBUM together, the story of Octavia and her son Milo whom she hasn't spoken to in a number of years. Milo is popular rock musician whose lyrics contain lines which recreate for Octavia glimpses of the tragedy that they have shared. It seems that Milo too is revealing more of himself in his "published work" than he means to.

When Milo is accused of the murder of his girl friend, Octavia decides to do what a mother should do - defend her offspring. At the very least she wants to make sure that he isn't wrongly convicted of the murder.

As I've said, a novel with an intriguing structure. Many bits to make you think too.

My rating: 4.9

Many thanks to Petrona who chose THE NOBODIES ALBUM as her January Pick of the Month.


bermudaonion said...

I love books that make me think! This one sounds fantastic!

Maxine Clarke said...

So glad you liked this one, Kerrie. It is always a bit nervewracking to rave about a book! I think this one would not appeal to everyone but I loved it. Thanks for reminding me of it in your lovely review.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm listening to it now. Thanks for the review.


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