This book’s cover is so pretty you could pattern a line of swanky throw pillows on it, but don’t let it fool you into thinking this is a fluff read.
Sitting on the floor of an airport bookstore, I opened The Nest for the first time as a browsing traveler passing the time. It’s a decadent disaster, this first scene. A scene where Leo, the story’s hinge character, ruins everything. A scene so manic that I forgot where I was until someone almost tripped over me.
Leo has upset the Nest. He and his three siblings, the Plumbs, are on the precipice of receiving a luxurious inheritance (“The Nest”) they’ve been made to wait for until Melody, the youngest, turns forty.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney then sets off with her quirky petty winsome Plumb characters as they reckon with this deferment. The phrase that kept scrolling through my mind as I read became: Money is the root of all … what? Because it’s not really evil, is it?
What Sweeney shows, though, is how money takes root. The promise of wealth has shaped each sibling’s dearest hopes and deepest flaws. It has fractured the family and those around them with addiction, greed, detachment, and anxiety. Sweeney somehow pulls all this together while maintaining a current of comedy throughout.
The characters’ transformations are earned. Sweeney allows every character’s story its own sort of strangeness (think: sexy literary magazines gone under, hidden affairs with professors, black market antique dealing, and Limoncello dinner parties gone wrong). But, Leo. Oh, Leo, the deplorable dashing beloved narcissist of the family. My favorite insight from Sweeney is in the way she traces addiction and just how it necessitates deceit. Boredom and the fear of becoming like “every other chump” comes to the fore through the eyes of Leo who, in a scene late in the novel, makes a choice that sends the story to a tight conclusion.
So you really haven’t read it yet? We have you covered (with this magnificent cover). Paperbacks available at BookBar.
Be sure to meet Cynthia when she stops at BookBar on Monday, April 10 at 7 PM to read from The Nest and sign copies. Limoncello sangria on special.