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Extended Audio Sample The Nobodies Album Audiobook, 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: June 2010 ISBN: 9780307714725
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Spicer | 1/28/2014

    " Loved this: recommended by a really cool patron "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chara | 1/18/2014

    " Did not impact me the way DOGS OF BABEL did. That book had so much emotion in it and this one did not feel as deep... Interesting concept though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keri | 1/17/2014

    " probably closer to 3.8 or so... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 1/16/2014

    " I loved this book. Marvelous, about loss and redemption. I really enjoyed the author's overall use of language. Gorgeous and evocative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara B. | 1/9/2014

    " My second book by this author. A unique story.Got the book title from a weekly book review our paper does. Very well written. I will read more by her. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simi | 11/18/2013

    " This book was not typical of style of reading, but it totally intrigued me, and I found it very well written. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pvillehol | 11/16/2013

    " From the authour of Dogs of Babel (which I think was excellent), this book is about endings, can we change them, was there a better way this could have gone, could I have done something different? The opportunity to reexamine so many different endings was interesting, to say the least. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liza | 11/5/2013

    " I found this book to be VERY creative--different from anything I have ever read, and I have read a lot! There was a great, attention-keeping plot, but the sub-plots were as mesmerizing and I SO loved her forays into the protagonist's other novels. Let's just say, you need to read this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean Brown | 4/7/2013

    " Mystery drama this book is both and more. I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 10/25/2012

    " Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book. Thought I would put it down after the first few pages...the setting is about a modern day rock star and a murder. But stayed with it and found her writing interesting and held my attention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth Oporto | 6/12/2012

    " I quite liked this, despite the slightly disjointed nature of the novel "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 5/18/2012

    " This resonated with me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 3/21/2012

    " Great read- a unique and intriguing premise, kept me reading- finished in less than a day "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caryn | 10/19/2011

    " This is one of those books that was OK but as soon as I finished it i forgot what it was about. Maybe I was just having senior moments. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 9/20/2011

    " A pretty good read, but the convention of books within book bothered me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancie | 7/1/2011

    " Not one of my favorites but a good summer read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 6/25/2011

    " Took me a couple chapters to get in to this book. Author really intrigued me with her main character novelist rewriting the ends to all her novels. Definitely recommend this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenine | 6/25/2011

    " wierd but i liked it and it was a quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simi | 6/10/2011

    " This book was not typical of style of reading, but it totally intrigued me, and I found it very well written. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Runphanie | 6/6/2011

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

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 5/26/2011

    " I liked the story itself very much. I found the "novels-within-the-novel" to be just wretched. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy | 5/16/2011

    " I listened to the audiobook and truly enjoyed listening and learning from the main character who is a mother and writer and just plain inspiring and true character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moakaday | 5/3/2011

    " Really liked this one. Fascinated by the premise of rewriting the endings of the main character's books. The format was very unique and I liked that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 4/25/2011

    " I didn't think I was going to like this, but it got me hooked. The last chapters of her books & then the rewritten parts were interesting. "

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About the Author
Author Carolyn Parkhurst

Carolyn Parkhurst is the New York Times bestselling author of the novel The Dogs of Babel, a New York Times Notable Book, and the children’s book Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, among others. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and their two children.

About the Narrator

Kimberly Farr is an actress and eight-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.