December 12, 2018

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Sibling squabbles, squandered savings bring perfect storm in dazzling debut

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2016 (984 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fulfilling her lifelong goal of writing fiction, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney deftly examines tenuous family ties with humour, keen insight and clarity of purpose in her sensational debut novel.

Though she now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, D’Aprix Sweeney lived in New York City for more than 20 years. Possessing a knack for detail, she has crafted a gut-wrenching narrative with an air of lived experience. The Nest is set in New York City, and she introduces her readers to the enigmatic Plumb family after a catalytic meteorological event dubbed “Snowtober.”

Thoroughly realistic settings include Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, which is the opulent site of a terse intervention. This meeting is preceded by an event D’Aprix Sweeney credits as her inspiration for The Nest; prior to their impending reunion, four adult siblings take cover in various bars surrounding Grand Central to indulge in fortifying libations with the comfort of privacy.

Theirs is not a happy gathering.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2016 (984 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fulfilling her lifelong goal of writing fiction, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney deftly examines tenuous family ties with humour, keen insight and clarity of purpose in her sensational debut novel.

Though she now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, D’Aprix Sweeney lived in New York City for more than 20 years. Possessing a knack for detail, she has crafted a gut-wrenching narrative with an air of lived experience. The Nest is set in New York City, and she introduces her readers to the enigmatic Plumb family after a catalytic meteorological event dubbed "Snowtober."

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Thoroughly realistic settings include Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, which is the opulent site of a terse intervention. This meeting is preceded by an event D’Aprix Sweeney credits as her inspiration for The Nest; prior to their impending reunion, four adult siblings take cover in various bars surrounding Grand Central to indulge in fortifying libations with the comfort of privacy.

Theirs is not a happy gathering.

When Leo, the eldest, is released from rehab following a tragic accident in which he had been driving inebriated and his passenger, a young woman, became an amputee, his siblings are more concerned with the balance of their joint trust fund than his well-being. Intended as a midlife blessing by their unpretentious father, "The Nest" (as it is ironically known) encourages spectacular folly as its worth increases. A costly settlement, a bitter divorce and resulting financial tolls render The Nest all but worthless to the Plumb siblings, and Beatrice, Jack and Melody are out for blood.

All that glitters at the oyster bar is a mere glamour of the shared inheritance they consider their due. As Leo struggles with the consequences of his poor judgment, they must come to terms with their codependence.

The quixotic characters of The Nest will surely leave a lasting impression upon readers of contemporary literature. At times charming, at times cringeworthy, their attempts to pick up the pieces of their broken dreams will captivate the mind, body and soul of the reader. Like most delightfully quirky but utterly dysfunctional families, the Plumbs rouse the best and the worst in each other.

Masterfully written from multiple points of view, The Nest calls to mind the enthralling plot lines of J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements with which it has many themes in common. The parallels between choices and fates are particularly striking, as a dreaded sense of the inevitable stirs some to action while others wallow in self-pity. This dichotomy in personalities creates offbeat pacing throughout The Nest, stimulating breathless intensity in some moments and vexing befuddlement in others.

Readers will want to keep reading about Leo Plumb and his ragtag entourage long after turning the page on the author’s thoughtfully composed epilogue. From The Nest, her sonorous voice reverberates through the sweeping landscape of literary fiction today. After such a remarkable impact, expect good things to come.

Jennifer Pawluk is a Winnipeg communications specialist.

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