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The Nest
Cover of The Nest
The Nest

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, "The Nest," which they are months away from finally receiving. 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.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy 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 short-story writer, just 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? Brought together as never before, 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 acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, "The Nest," which they are months away from finally receiving. 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.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy 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 short-story writer, just 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? Brought together as never before, 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 acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

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About the Author-
  • Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney is the New York Times bestselling author of The Nest, which has been translated into twenty-six languages and optioned for film by Amazon Studios. She has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 4, 2016
    As four middle-aged Plumb siblings—Leo, Beatrice, Jack, and Melody—await the distribution of the trust fund their father had established for them as just an extra dividend in what he assumed would be their financially comfortable lives, they find themselves in dire economic straits. Unfortunately, the Nest (as they call the trust fund) had been used to settle the medical bills for a young woman who was badly injured when an inebriated Leo crashed his Porsche while they were inside it and getting intimate. Already a sadly dysfunctional family, the siblings plan to confront Leo. In a clever touch that reveals their hopes and desperation, each secretly has a drink in a different Manhattan bar before they convene to hear Leo swear he will get his act together and pay back the money. That Leo can’t be trusted is evident to the reader right away, but his segue into a meaningful domestic relationship with a literary agent seems hopeful. Meanwhile, his siblings try to avoid other financial crises, brought on by their own irresponsible behavior. Jack can’t repay the loans he has kept secret from his husband; Melody won’t be able to meet the mortgage payments on her home or forthcoming college tuition for her twin daughters; Bea has been forced to return the advance on the second novel she cannot write. In her debut, Sweeney spins a fast-moving, often-humorous narrative, and her portrait of each sibling is compassionate even as she reveals their foibles with emotional clarity. She sets scenes among iconic Manhattan watering places, capturing the tempo of various neighborhoods. Her writing is assured, energetic, and adroitly plotted, sweeping the reader along through an engrossing narrative that endears readers to the Plumb family for their essential humanity. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2016

    This anticipated debut novel from Sweeney typifies the Internet meme "white people problems" even more than most current New York City-based literary fiction. It concerns the Plumb siblings, four middle-class New Yorkers, and their upcoming inheritance. The Plumb patriarch set aside a sum to become available to the four of them when the youngest, Melody, turned 40, in order to teach them a lesson about independence. The story opens with Leo Plumb high on cocaine and getting into a car wreck as he seduces a 19-year-old waitress, a scandal that puts the now hefty inheritance at risk. The story moves along briskly, shifting perspectives between the Plumbs and those associated with them. There is Melody, the youngest, and her teenage daughter's sexual awakening; Jack, an antique dealer, and his secret husband; Leo and publisher girlfriend Stephanie, who owns a brownstone in Brooklyn and rents the lower floor to a man who lost his wife in 9/11; and finally, Bea, the failed novelist. These stories are seamlessly combined as predictable tragedies and triumphs befall everyone. VERDICT Anyone with siblings will appreciate the character dynamics at play here, although they may not care much for each character individually. A fun, quick read recommended for fans of Emma Straub and Meg Wolitzer. [See Prepub Alert, 9/28/15.]--Kate Gray, Boston P.L., MA

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins "The Nest ambles along so beautifully, what a pleasure to read! It's a wise, funny, compassionate family drama, full of irresistible surprises, witty conversations, and necessary emotional truths."
  • Elizabeth Gilbert "A masterfully constructed, darkly comic, and immensely captivating tale...not only clever, but emotionally astute. Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney is a real talent."
  • Amy Poehler "In her intoxicating first novel, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney has written an epic family story that unfolds in a deeply personal way. The Nest is a fast-moving train and Sweeney's writing dares us to keep up. I couldn't stop reading or caring about the juicy and dysfunctional Plumb family."
  • Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves "Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney delivers an acerbic satire of the leisure class while crafting an affecting human story that embroils us utterly in the fates of the Plumbs...This book keeps its blade sharp and its heart open."
  • Bret Anthony Johnston "The Nest is a trenchant, darkly funny, and beautiful novel."
  • New York Times Book Review "Humor and delightful irony abound in this lively first novel."
  • Publishers Weekly In her debut, Sweeney spins a fast-moving, often-humorous narrative, and her portrait of each sibling is compassionate even as she reveals their foibles with emotional clarity...assured, energetic, and adroitly plotted...an engrossing narrative that endears readers to the Plumb family for their essential humanity."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "[A] generous, absorbing novel...Sweeney's endearing characters are quirky New Yorkers all... [a] lively novel. A fetching debut from an author who knows her city, its people, and their heart."
  • Cosmopolitan, Cosmo Reads "As siblings struggle with money woes, their humble inheritance turns into a full-blown cash cow. There's only one problem: the black sheep of the family."
  • Marie Claire "Nothing makes your dysfunctional clan look good like another's-meet the Plumb siblings, caught up in a trust fund battle, in Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest."
  • Entertainment Weekly, 9 Books You Have to Read in March "In this hilarious family saga, a group of adult siblings find their futures uncertain when they realize the shared inheritance they've been counting on might have been drained by their reckless older brother."
  • New York magazine / Vulture "A precise and deftly braided story...a breezier The Emperor's Children, by turns winsome, biting, and addictive."
  • Bustle, 15 of the Best Books of March 2016 "All it will take is a few pages of this book's strikingly hypnotic prologue, and you'll be sucked in... Better than reality TV, you won't be able to stop reading this until you've sucked out all the juicy drama."
  • BookPage, 9 Women to Watch in 2016 "Readers who devour quirky family dramas like Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Be Frank With Me won't want to miss this anticipated debut about a dysfunctional New York City family."
  • Refinery 29, 5 Brand-New Books to Read in March "Fans of dark comedy are sure to appreciate the twisted humor and compassion found in this novel, which explores the ever-binding relationship between brothers and sisters. The Nest is gripping family drama at its best."
  • B&N Reads, The Best New Fiction of the Month "The dynamics and foibles of family take center stage here, interweaving four characters' tumultuous journeys to paint a rich picture of domestic drama."
  • O, the Oprah Magazine "[A] closely observed, charming novel."
  • Washington Post "[S]cenes both witty and tragic... that glow with the confidence of an experienced comic writer... [Sweeney] maintains a refreshing balance of tenderness. Rather than skewering the Plumbs to death, she pokes them, as though probing to find the humanity beneath their cynical crust."
  • Los Angeles Times "The Nest is an addictive,...
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