The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is due for release on 19th May 2016. I would like to thank NetGalley and HarperFiction for the ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
‘A sharp, funny and deftly observed debut about a wonderfully dysfunctional New York family, The Plumbs, and the three grown-up siblings fighting to save the family money pot – the ‘nest’ – as their oldest brother threatens to lose it all. Perfect for fans of The Middlesteins and The Vacationers.
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.
Ferociously astute, warm and funny, The Nest is a brilliant debut chronicling the hilarity and savagery of family life.’ (Courtesy of NetGalley)
The Nest is a debut novel from Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney about a family and the inevitable fall out that ensues when money is involved. The Plumb family is made up of four siblings, Leo, Jack, Beatrice & Melody, all raised under the very tough matriarchal presence of their mother Francie.
Their father was a very astute business man & with the assistance of George, the family attorney, he invested wisely, leaving a very generous ‘NEST’ of money for the children. The only prerequisite was that the money would not be available until Melody, the youngest, reached her 40th birthday.
The novel captures the intense relationships between the Plumb family so accurately. Through the lines & threads of the story, D’Aprix Sweeney expertly draws us into their chaotic lives
Leo is the eldest brother and could be categorized as the Black Sheep of the family. He made his money during the Internet boom and lived off his wealth, dabbling in drugs, women and partying hard. He is the central character in this novel. It is from a scandal that he gets himself involved with that causes the ensuing financial losses that his siblings will have to bear.
Jack, an antiques dealer, has forever lived in Leo’s shadow, even being given the nickname ‘Leo Lite‘ in school. Jack would say that, although brothers, they were not friends. ‘In Leo’s company, Jack felt like a lesser version of his older brother…not as intelligent, interesting, or successful…(he) worked hard to distance himself from the Plumbs, especially Leo.’
Beatrice (Bea) is a writer, who had a number of successful short stories published many years ago and is still waiting on ‘the Novel’ within her to reach the surface. She has always been a stalwarth of Leo’s, as he had always believed in her and given her the strength to believe she could do it. Bea is an unusual person, who shows great tenacity & courage throughout the trials & tribulations of ‘Leo’.
Melody, the youngest, is a very sad person. She is extremely protective of her family, husband Walt and twins, Nora & Louisa. I think her character is a very real one. We all know a ‘Melody’. She wants the best for her family, particularly her children and basically puts her life on hold until what she hopes will be her windfall on her 40th birthday. She has unfulfilled aspirations & dreams and her frustration jumps off the page at you.
Francie, their mother, is a very unique woman. While faced with her children’s upset at the diminishing ‘Nest’, she describes them as an ‘execution squad’. She has always felt that ‘nothing she did was good enough; what she did for one disappointed another. She couldn’t win. When would it end?…She searched their faces again, looking for some sign, some small indicator that they’d come from her and Leonard. Aside from physical traits, the easiest mark to hit, she could see nothing. Nothing. All she could think was “I don’t recognize a single one of you”‘
The Nest recounts the story of how all these characters mesh. They all live very separate lives but suddenly are thrown back together in extremely tense circumstances. Their different personalities come to the fore as their lives fall apart. Up to now they have all placed Leo on a pedestal, but he has proven himself no longer worthy of this position. As Walter, Melody’s husband states ‘What I really think is the sooner everyone lets go of Leo as their personal savior, the better off everyone will be. Including you. Including us.’
Leo, following a stint in rehab, comes back into their lives, into the relationships they have with themselves and with others. His returning presence seems to act as a kind of catalyst in all their lives. Leo, himself, rekindles an old relationship with his ex Stephanie. Jack finds himself teetering on the edge of an abyss with his ‘secret’ marriage to Walker. Bea is living in the past with memories of an old love Tuck and Melody has ceased to exist as a wife in her relationship with Walter.
D’Aprix Sweeney gives us wonderful insights into the complexities of all these relationships and makes us question a few of our own aswell.
At times, as siblings, they come across quite petulant in their behaviour. It’s as though they have yet to grow up. It’s as though they are waiting on their share of the ‘Nest’ before they CAN grow up.
I loved this book. Maybe because I am the youngest of four I can relate to the difficulties of all the different relationships that are present. As a family, the Plumbs are very complex and flawed in so many different ways that I think alot of people, me included, can relate to.
Whatever the reasons, I couldn’t put it down and think it is deserving of all the hype surrounding it that is sure to follow. It’s a 5* read!!
See for yourself what you think and please let me know.
Til next time