Elizabeth's Reviews > The Nobodies Album

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
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's review
Jun 20, 2011

really liked it
Read in June, 2011

Parkhurst has chosen an unusual structure for this novel. The main thrust is a murder mystery about an author, Octavia, who learns that her estranged son, Milo, has been accused of killing his girlfriend. Interspersed are the endings and rewritten endings of Octavia's books, presented in reverse chronological order. These snippets have nothing to do with the murder, but they do obliquely tell the story of Octavia and Milo's estrangement; as Octavia revisits her novels, she develops a better understanding of her son's reaction to a past tragedy and how that might affect his present predicament.

I don't particularly like novels that are too ostentatiously literary; the inclusion of the novel excerpts might be seen as Parkhurst simply showing off. (Look how many brilliant story ideas I can cram in one book!) But here, it worked for me, mostly because the whole thing is done very, very well. I was immediately drawn in to each and every one of the excerpts, and would gladly read the novels if Parkhurst ever decided to flesh them out.

The murder mystery itself is a little thin, and the end of the book gets a bit bogged down in long-winded maternal sentiment, but I genuinely enjoyed this book and plan on reading the rest of Parkhurst's books in the near future.

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