On Sunday,I heard Carolyn Parkhurst read from her book The Nobodies Album, which I also reviewed that day. Before she started her reading, she said that the book has a "challenging, complicated structure," and that she often wondered what she had gotten herself into. Parkhurst also answered a few questions after the reading. Here is the Q&A:
Q. How much of the novels-within-the-novels did you actually write?
A: I only wrote as much as you see in the book, but I needed the basic plot and what was happening in the book. I had to explain it all to the reader so that they would understand. But I didn't write any more than I had to.
Q: What do you think about authors changing the endings of their books?
A: I had once read about Joyce Carol Oates revising a thirty year-old story, and I wondered, was she allowed to do that? But ultimately, I don't really care what anybody does. Personally, I like finishing and moving on when I am done. It scares me to think that I could tinker with a book forever. I find it a weird choice to revisit an ending.
Q: Would you ever write a book from one of these seven pieces of novels?
A: Probably not, even though it would make my mother happy. I tried not to make them like short stories, but I feel like I've already said what I need to say about those characters. Maybe the themes and subject matter will come up again, though.
The Nobodies Album also got a great review in the New York Times Book Review on Sunday – check it out.