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The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Contemporary fiction

The Nest

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, on your first book!

by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Quick take

The story dances in the reader's mind; it lives and breathes and is as immediate as a theater piece playing out before your eyes.

Why I love it

Ellie Kemper
Apr. 2016

The Nest does not meander gently through the paths of four troubled siblings and their various problems; it flies. I apologize for the bird pun in the very first sentence of this review, but what can I say? I'm giddy. I could not put this book down. The Plumb family is a messed-up, dysfunctional, self-obsessed unit full of messed-up dysfunctional, self-obsessed members – much like your family or mine. What makes their journey a delight to read is the way that Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney seamlessly and artfully weaves their stories together. I've always been fascinated by the fact that an artist can induce pleasure from essentially unlikeable characters, and Ms. Sweeney does just that in this captivating story.

"The Nest" refers to the Plumb siblings' shared trust fund, which they are due to receive on the youngest sibling's 40th birthday. As is often the case with oldest siblings (I myself am the second of four '“ incidentally, the second child is historically regarded as the "dove-like" child who can "do no wrong"), the eldest Plumb brother goes and gets himself into an accident mere months away from this long-awaited payday. The financial consequences from this event put the entire Nest in danger, and the remaining three siblings are left scrambling as this promised jackpot disappears before their eyes.

As a result of counting on this trust fund for years, the Plumb children have remained as just that: children. Their arrested development has produced any number of irresponsible life choices; Jack and Melody insist on living beyond their means to keep up appearances, Bea remains stunted in a writing career that never quite blossomed, and Leo Plumb appears to live first, foremost, and solely for himself. What the author does so masterfully in this novel is to continuously rotate the points of view; each chapter is told through a different character's eyes. In this way, the story never takes a moment's rest.

While reading this book, I involuntarily assigned the cast of Mad Men to play the various characters. I saw John Slattery as Leo, Vincent Kartheiser as Jack, Elisabeth Moss as Melody (we would have to age her a bit, but it could work). I think this is a comment on how easily the story dances in the reader's mind; it lives and breathes and is as immediate as a theater piece playing out before your eyes. I was sad to reach the last page. I hope that Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney writes another one, very soon.

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Member thoughts

All (1719)
All (1719)
Love (486)
Like (949)
Dislike (284)
1775 ratings
  • 27% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 16% Dislike
  • Sardinia, NY

    I found this book to be lovely. The characters are all flawed, and there are a lot of characters, but they all learn, and grow well. The only thing I didn’t like was chapter 43, what an overused trope

  • Pacifica, CA

    Good read, very interesting! It was oddly and unexpectedly enjoyable to watch the lives of the characters unravel and their lies be revealed one by one, catalyzed by the mistake of the eldest brother.

  • Centreville, VA

    Although the sibling-rivalry story seems familiar, the execution of it here was brilliant. The story moved smoothly through different points of view to paint a complete picture. Rich and entertaining.

  • Birmingham, AL

    Was skeptical given the super-mixed reviews but was pleasantly entertained by the Plumb family and all of their escapades. Had a similarly satisfying experience reading The Royal We by Heather Cocks.

  • Everett, WA

    I liked how the siblings played out into completely different characters from one another--you can have the same upbringing and essentially will end up on your own path: self-absorbed, neurotic, etc.

  • Sandy Springs, GA

    What will the promise of a windfall nest egg do to 4 siblings? Money definitely brings out worst in them. I thought I'd hate these characters (some of them are truly annoying) but all are hilarious.

  • Chapel Hill, NC

    This novel took us into the extraordinary lives of one unique family. Four siblings, each struggling in their adult lives, must find a way to come together despite their financial differences. Bold!

  • Orlando, FL

    Following the lives of the Plumb family and just learning of the events following the accident had me on the edge of my seat. Once I really got going I couldn't stop. 100% in love with this book.

  • Roswell, GA

    If you have an even slightly dysfunctional family that includes a f*ck up, you'll appreciate this story. It started off a little odd, but by the end things tied together in an unexpected way.

  • Granite Falls, WA

    Characters so believable and lovable even if not perfect or because of not being perfect. I will miss this family, so much like my own and I suspect like a lot of folks. Excellent storytelling.

  • Jacobus, PA

    Sometimes books with multiple narrators are difficult to follow, not so with this one. I found all of the characters interesting and deep, but the overall feel of the book made me smile.

  • Haddonfield, NJ

    I love family dramas and this one did not disappoint. It captured you from the first page and had you turning the page all the way to the last. Money, Family, Love. Awesome combination.

  • Bird in Hand, PA

    Love a good dysfunctional family story. Even though the majority of the characters are selfish and not-so-great people, I grew to like each of them. Fantastic job on setting, as well.

  • 28023, NC

    This book was really good. It describes a dysfunctional family that meet together to discuss inheritance and you realize they all have realistic problems that can be fix without money.

  • Chesterfield , MO

    This is old in BOTM land, but honestly, it’s great. I don’t believe I would have enjoyed it in 2016, but I’ve read a lot since then. Fun to picture Leo as Roger from Mad Men.

  • Saint Charles, MO

    This book was beautiful! I only purchased this book because of the cover, but what was in between was even better. The root of the story is family. I loved, loved, loved this book!

  • Eldersburg, MD

    This book is not for everybody - for instance, if you need to LIKE a character to keep reading - but I found it quirky and well-written. I've recommended it to some, but sparingly.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    A tale of the wealthy (and not yet weathly) and how easily money can distort and erode what binds us to each other. It made me care about this odd little family of Plumbs.

  • Alexandria, VA

    I absolutely loved this book. I was so curious the whole time how the members of this family would end up. I think this was such a great portrait of a messed up family.

  • Spring, TX

    One of my favorites of the year. Loved the dysfunction of the Plumb family. Each character has some pretty awful personality traits, but it makes the book a great read.

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