Friday, May 10, 2019

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

The Nest topped the New York Times best seller list for 11 weeks after its publication in 2016. The plot sounded intriguing and when it was a Kindle deal of the day, I purchased it. Then in July 2018, I saw it at Barnes and Noble on sale for $3.99, forgetting that I had it on my Kindle, I purchased it again. (This prompted me to enter all my Kindle books into LibraryThing). When my turn came to hostess book club, this was the book I selected. 

The premise of the novel is that the four Plumb siblings are to receive a sum of money, The Nest, that has been put in trust for them by their father. However, when Leo, the eldest, is involved in an horrendous car accident because he was high and drunk and is accompanied by a 19 year old waitress, the money is used by Francie, the mother, to pay off the legal and medical bills for the young woman. Needless to say this creates issues and conflicts for Jack, Melody, and Beatrice, the other siblings.   

The novel is narrated by an omniscient third person. In this way, the reader is able to see events from different points of view, one of the strongest qualities of the book. Each of the protagonists has counted on The Nest for a purpose - Jack to pay off a summer home, Melody to finance her twin daughters' college fund and Beatrice to regain the relationship that she had with her brother. None of the characters are particularly endearing as they seem self-centered and unable to put their own needs aside for others. The novel weaves the story around those relationships and a number of sub-plots - the coming out of one of Melody's daughters, the recovery of a valuable copy of Rodin's The Kiss from the rubble of the World Trade Center, and the renewal of an affair between Leo and Stephanie, his sister, Bea's publisher. 

The culmination of all the drama occurs the night of Melody's 40th birthday. This was the date by which Leo had promised to come up with a plan of distributing the remainder of The Nest to his siblings. The evening is marked by a storm of enormous proportions, meteorological, corporal, and psychological. 

Although the reviews in the book club discussion ranged from I loved it to I found it disturbing because of the sex and language, I felt that it was an excellent read. The character development was superb, despite finding them likeable, and the writing style sophisticated. I await Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's next novel and also the casting for the movie that has been picked up by Amazon.