I was curious about this book because I like funny books and I like family sagas. I was expecting something funny about a family dealing with an inheritance, the Nest of the title, and the book delivered on the funny parts, but overall it abandoned the comedy and silliness, which I wasn’t expecting.
The Nest focuses on the adult siblings of the Plumb family. Leo Plumb is a writer and founder of a media conglomerate. He and his siblings live in or near New York, and their lives center on the money they stand to inherit on their sister’s 40th birthday.
First, you have to be able to be charmed by Leo, the internet millionaire who spectacularly self-destructs at the beginning of the book at a family wedding. Sweeney didn’t get me to be charmed for him, so that was strike one for me.
Second, I felt like there were a few good set-pieces in the book (every family gathering had a bit of ridiculousness), but I never felt the action ramping up. It could have been a true farce of a book with siblings acting truly manic, but it never quite got there. Taking it to an even more absurd height would have worked for me. Instead, there’s emotional heft at the very end after not much of that. It’s hard to read a section asking me to sympathize with a few characters when I’ve just finished a book where the characters were all so wrapped up in themselves. They hardly empathized with each other, which got me into the mode of not empathizing with them either.
I was expecting something funnier, based on the cover copy and what I’d read about the book elsewhere.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Ecco, March 2016
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.