Topic of the Week: July 23, 2010

Carolyn Parkhurst (photo by Marion Ettinger)

There are two things that every novel has in common: a beginning and an ending. No matter how compelling the characters, how engaging the story, how lovely the prose; no matter how much we don’t want it to end, yet can’t wait to see what happens in the textual world of the author’s imagination, the book must end.

What are endings, anyway? Are they simply the final paragraphs in a series of pages? Must they tie up every thread the writer weaves into the story? Is there a perfect ending? This week in #litchat we’ll discuss endings.

On Friday, July 23, Carolyn Parkhurst joins us as guest host. Her newest novel, The Nobodies Album, is an achingly honest portrayal of a bestselling author whose survivors guilt seeps through all of her books. Her latest novel is a compilation of new endings to all of her previous novels, an attempt to remove the little pieces of herself she’s layered into her work. When her estranged son, a rockstar of iconic, stature is accused of murder, the author sees how his survivor’s guilt informs his music and has scattered secrets through his life. The prose is sparse, yet brilliantly plotted with a mystery that maintains its momentum without predictability right to the end.

Parkhurst is the author of the novels The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found and has published fiction in the North American Review, the minnesota review, Hawai’i Review, and the Crescent Review. Carolyn received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

Follow Carolyn Parkhurst on Twitter at @CParkhurst1