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The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Contemporary fiction

The Nest

Debut

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

by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

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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

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 ratings (2,175)

  • Ashley H.

    The Villages, FL

    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

  • Olga G.

    Saint Marys, GA

    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.

  • Letitia C.

    Fairfax, 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.

  • Kelsey G.

    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.

  • Kelli R.

    Pelham, 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.

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