The Nest

Tolstoy wrote that "each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," but readers of Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest will find that New York's Plumb family mirrors the same dysfunctions and deceits that many of us hide from our blood kin--money troubles, love troubles and trappings of modern life that make human interactions so volatile.

Siblings Leo, Jack, Melody and Bea's woes revolve around the trust fund they've been waiting to inherit into their 40s, the titular nest egg, and when Leo's philandering lands him in a legal settlement, the Plumb family finds itself scrambling for resources. After the car accident in the first chapter, in which an on-road sexual exploit results in a caterer losing her foot, the Plumbs' sumptuous world unravels like an ill-made cashmere sweater. Jack's struggling antiques store begins to flounder while his new husband remains unaware; Bea's stalled writing career haunts her; expensive tuition looms in Melody's future as her twins finish their junior year of high school. The Nest is a novel about expectations--how we nurture them and then recalibrate them against life's inevitable friction.

It would be an oversimplification to say that The Nest focuses on the way a family and the individuals that comprise it rebuild in a sturdier likeness of their old selves. Sweeney's compulsively readable prose makes every plot twist and fraught financial downturn seem like a punch in the center of one's gut, and it's this impact that gives The Nest its wings. --Linnie Greene, freelance writer

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