The Nest|Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney



Instant New York Times Bestseller; named a Best Book of 2016 by People, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Refinery29, NPR and LibraryReads.

"Hilarious and big-hearted, The Nest is a stellar debut." -- People

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, 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.


  • ISBN-13: 9780062414229
  • ISBN-10: 0062414224
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds
  • Page Count: 368

Book clubs: Man versus forest

Grand in scale, somber in message, Barkskins, Annie Proulx’s sprawling historical novel, is an old-fashioned tale of exploration and discovery that chronicles the destruction of the world’s forests. The novel follows the fortunes of René Sel and Charles Duquet, two poor Frenchmen in 17th-­century Canada who become woodcutters, or barkskins. Sel marries a Mi’kmaw woman and fights to eke out a life, while Duquet goes on to start a timber enterprise. The book tracks their descendants as they struggle to survive in far-flung locales, including New Zealand and China, deforesting every region they enter and clashing with native cultures along the way. Proulx spins this epic tale all the way into the present day. Her richly developed characters, including Duquet’s great-grandson, James Duke, who continues the family timber business, and his smart, resourceful daughter, Lavinia, keep the book from being preachy or pedagogic. This is a rewarding read from a world-class writer that’s sure to get book clubs talking.

One of the biggest debuts of 2016, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s shrewdly observed novel, The Nest, is the story of the Plumb siblings and their struggles over an anticipated inheritance. Melody, Jack and Beatrice have a face-off with their brash, irresponsible brother, Leo, whose car accident (involving lots of alcohol and a teenage waitress) has imperiled their shared trust fund, which they refer to as “the nest.” Each Plumb sibling needs the money to solve a particular problem. Melody is contending with a mortgage and her daughters’ college tuition, while Jack is hoping for a bailout on funds he borrowed to keep his antique store afloat. Aspiring writer Beatrice, meanwhile, needs all the help she can get as she wrestles with her first novel. The story of how the Plumbs resolve the matter of the nest makes for a funny, poignant family saga. Sweeney writes convincingly about domestic feuds and sibling dynamics. This is a delightful debut from a writer of great promise.

Nearly two years after it was first released, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See arrives in paperback this month. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows the lives of two characters during World War II in Europe. Werner is a German orphan who—thanks to his remarkable facility for math—is placed in a special Nazi school. ­Marie-Laure, a young blind girl, lives in Paris with her father. When the war escalates, Marie-Laure and her father flee to Saint-Malo, a walled city in Brittany where they have relatives involved in the French Resistance. Werner, meanwhile, rises through the ranks of Hitler Youth to become a Resistance tracker. When he arrives in Saint-Malo, he connects with Marie-Laure, and their lives change forever. Doerr’s beautifully rendered novel has all the makings of a classic. Poetic, compassionate and compelling, it’s a book that will stand the test of time.

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.