Book Review: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
When Leo Plumb drives off drunk from a party in a sports car with a nineteen-year-old waitress in tow, to the moral and legal fallout must be added the horrible inconvenience to his brother and sisters. Leo’s rehab costs have severely depleted ‘the nest’ – the family’s joint trust fund that would have cut them loose from their myriad financial issues.
For Melody, a suburban wife and mother, it was to cover both an unwieldy mortgage and her daughters’ college tuition. Antiques dealer Jack has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband. And Beatrice, a once-promising short story writer, can’t seem to finish her overdue novel.
Brought together as never before, the Plumb siblings must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledging the choices they have made in their own lives.
If you’ve ever relied on being bailed out financially or spent a sum of money in your head before ever receiving it, and who hasn’t imagined what they would do with a windfall such as a lottery win or radio quiz prize money, The Nest will resonate with you.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney puts that promise of a future payout in the heads of the four Plumb siblings and has an awful lot of fun at their expense. The fact that they’ve had to wait until they’re middle-aged for their father’s investment fund – the titular Nest – to pay out has worked contrary to how he intended. For rather than grow up and stand on their own two feet, it’s held those dysfunctional Plumbs in sway and they’re stuck in many of the same patterns of behaviour from their childhood.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel is an absolute joy to read. Warm, witty, full of truths about families: the roles we play, the push and pull, the alliances, petty jealousies and campaigns waged; about relationships and the secrets we keep; and about how much grief the whiff of future money, and perceived preferential treatment of one charismatic sibling can cause. You’ll find The Nest a juicy page-turner as you discover if dysfunction can ever start to function as a family.
The Nest is Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel and is out now as an ebook: Amazon UK. It’s published in hardback in the UK by The Borough Press on 19th May 2016. You can pre-order a copy through your preferred retailer here. You can find out more about the author from her Author Website, or on Twitter or Facebook.