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Extended Audio Sample The Nobodies Album, by Carolyn Parkhurst Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,704 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Carolyn Parkhurst Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In The Nobodies Album, with a light but sure hand, Carolyn Parkhurst joins together four disparate literary forms: the family drama, the short story, the philosophical essay on language, and, yes, the whodunit. Her weave is smooth, a vigorous hybrid of the old-fashioned, the modern, and the postmodern. She reminds us what an act of will and imagination it has always taken for a writer to convert nobodies into somebodies in any genre, whether at the desk or in the world.”

    New York Times

  • “Parkhurst’s voice sucks the reader in immediately—the gift of a real storyteller.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A number of ambitious and winning novels have been written about novelists themselves, from Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin to Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Carol Shields’s Unless. Add to the list now DC author Carolyn Parkhurst’s The Nobodies Album. Not just a book about a novelist in action, it’s also a meditation on writing itself and on the curious intersections between the imagined world and the real one.”

    Washington Post

  • Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Runphanie | 2/18/2014

    " so far i don't want to put it down....looking forward to some quiet days of reading! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Merle | 2/17/2014

    " This was a page turner "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Johnny | 2/12/2014

    " For the third time, Carolyn Parkhurst has written a riveting novel that is difficult to put down. This postmodern story is narrated by Octavia Frost, a commercially successful seven-time novelist who has been estranged from her rock star son Milo ever since he read the all too revealing ending of one of her books that capitalized on the deaths of her husband and younger daughter. The two are brought together when Milo is accused of murdering his sleeping fiancee Bettina in their home and Octavia hops on a plane to help defend him, as well as unwittingly solve the mystery of Bettina's death. Octavia has also recently submitted her latest work to her publisher--the titular Nobodies Album--a work in which she rewrites the endings of her published novels in thinly veiled attempt to right the wrong that divided her from her son four years earlier. The original endings of these fictional works and their new counterparts are interspersed amongst the traditional narration, often metaphorically commenting on the redeveloping relationship between Octavia and Milo and revealing important aspects of the two's shared past. This all may sound convoluted and contrived, yet as Parkhurst does in her previous two novels (The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found), she creates a totally plausible and enthralling plot filled with captivating characters and insightful commentary. That said, there are issues here I don't remember being present in her previous books. At one point, Octavia mentions the metaphor that "the life experience of a fiction writer is like butter in cookie dough: it's a crucial part of flavor and texture--you certainly couldn't leave it out--but if you've done it right, it can't be discerned as a separate element" (155). Brilliant, yes. Accurate, no. Octavia is an extremely bright woman who has published seven novels, all of which include the death of a child. One of the novel's central mysteries is what exactly happened to Octavia's husband and daughter, and when the truth is revealed, the excerpts from her novels are clearly all butter, very little cookie dough! This realization hits her as though she never considered it herself. Similarly, the catalyst for Milo's separation from his mother and the truth of Bettina's murder are equally as dissatisfying. Each of these might seem major flaws in light of the plot structure, yet for some reason I didn't mind them as a reader. Octavia still has a delightful voice, and the years of her mental stagnation after her family's demise is palpable. Her insight (although albeit inexplicably stalled at times) is often credibly accurate. For example, she describes marriage as "affectionate and tiresome, passionate and dull" (170). As a huge Parkhurst fan, the metafictional elements here make me truly curious about where the "butter" is in the "cookie dough" of her novels, especially since the three texts span such varied storylines, ranging from talking dogs to reality television. The Nobodies Albums certainly increases my anticipation for future Parkhurst novels! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jayjay Salah | 2/3/2014

    " Beautiful, simply one of the best books I've read in my entire life. I loved Octavia, Milo and even Bettina. This novel will haunt me forever and ever until my dying day. "

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