"The Nest” by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, is a sharp, witty, big-hearted novel about the complicated and conflicted Plumb family. The novel employs a vast cast of characters, including Leo’s now trust-fund-less siblings - Melody, Jack, and Beatrice, who have their own problems and who, until their mother emptied the trust fund to save Leo, had desperate plans for that money. The story opens with the eldest Plumb sibling, Leo, fresh out of rehab. It then moves between the past - how Leo ended up in rehab, how Jack met his husband, how Beatrice loved and lost and failed as a writer, and how Melody built a family out of lies and half-truths.
Sweeney doesn’t stop with the quirky and sometimes loveable Plumb family - she weaves in bits about the girl in the car with Leo - his girlfriend Stephanie; Stephanie’s downstairs neighbor, the guy who works at the pizza place, Jack’s husband, and Melody’s husband – all Beatrice’s haters. Every little detail of every story bristles with the best kind of literary tension. You’ll want to keep reading or, if you choose the audio, keep listening.
For me, this book was one of the best books I’ve read all year. But - fair warning - some people have felt more lukewarm about it. If a large cast of characters and a meandering, dense story is not your usual choice in books, I would encourage you to give this one a try. While it isn’t heart-warming, it is entertaining. And while the Plumb family isn’t what anyone would call warm and cozy, they struck me as delightfully real. In the end, every piece of this novel, no matter how tangential - from Melody’s twin daughter’s skipping school to Beatrice’s failed attempts as a writer, and Jack’s disastrous business and love life – all fall into place in a way that felt, for me, honest and satisfying.
While you’re here at the library picking up a copy of “The Nest”, or browsing for something else, don’t forget to check out our poetry display. But hurry! The last day for the display is Saturday, April 29. Poet Bob Clark has put together a striking display of framed poems.