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Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney delves right into the heart of dysfunctional families in The Nest. When Leo Plumb gets into a car accident that nearly costs the life of his passenger – a young waitress who is notably not his wife – his mother uses most of the family’s joint trust fund, “The Nest,” to pay for the waitress’s medical bills and avoid a scandal in the papers. Leo’s three siblings were months away from finally receiving funds that would help each of them solve their mainly self-imposed problems, and now they must take responsibility for their own actions, no matter how tempting it is to place the sole blame on Leo.
Sweeney expertly portrays sibling rivalry at its most fraught, highlighting the difficult relationships that exist between the entitled Leo, Melody (a financially struggling suburban mother of twin daughters about to enter college), Bea (a literary has-been who still can’t finish her first novel), and Jack (an antiques dealer hiding a hefty financial secret from his husband, Walker). This rivalry is escalated by the perils of trying to make a living in New York City. In this day and age, the cost of living in and around New York is so astronomical that most people could use a trust fund just to make ends meet. So, the city offers a perfect backdrop in which to explore thorny family dynamics. Leo, Melody, Bea, and Jack must grapple with the reality of how money (or the possibility of it) can change people and relationships and whether it’s possible to move forward after betrayal. Throughout, Sweeney’s dialogue is witty and fresh and the characters feel genuine. A moving story of heartache, self-discovery, and personal triumphs, The Nest ultimately shows us that family matters above all else.
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