I along with practically everyone who reads couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of THE NEST (Ecco) by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney when it was published. Talk about hype, this novel easily has had the best marketing plan so far this year. You couldn’t check out a magazine or a newspaper without seeing a story about the Plumb family siblings. Let me tell you, if you haven’t read THE NEST yet, you are in for a real treat.
I have been known to laugh out loud while reading a novel, but from page one I was howling – yes, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I was! The Plumb family, who take dysfunction to a new level, are waiting to receive their pieces of their trust fund, known as “The Nest,” in hopes that their inheritance will solve all of their financial problems. But when the oldest Plumb, Leo, hops into his Porsche with cater-waiter, Matilda, at a Hamptons party for some extracurricular activities. Bingo, car crash, maiming Matilda! The money has to come from somewhere. So Leo takes a major dip into “The Nest.” Overnight, two-million dollars becomes 50-grand a piece for each Plumb! OUCH!
A year later, Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront their reckless older brother, Leo, fresh out of rehab about when he’s going to pay back “The Nest.” Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. The siblings are expecting Leo to pay “The Nest” back, and now they aren’t sure if he will.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has a huge mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising-writer, can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally wake up to the choices they’ve made in their own lives.
This is a story about family, power, the potential of friendships and the ways we depend on one another and inevitably let one another down. It’s quite impressive how Sweeney is able to juggle so many characters and create their distinct personalities. It’s hard to believe this is first novel, but I read somewhere that her husband is the head-writer for “Conan,” so humor must run in the family.
I look forward to reading what Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney writes next.
For what it’s worth, I see a lesson in THE NEST. Never depend on inheriting money from relatives or friends. I know so many people who are, and I believe they are on a foolish path. But, those are just my thoughts.