Unfeathering the nest

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

3 words: character-driven, warm, ensemble cast

Is it just me, or is everyone else hearing tons of buzz about this book?

After it popped up for about the 50th time, I decided to give in and give it a try.

Though I gotta tell you: I was a little bit concerned that, based on the plot summary I’d heard, I wouldn’t be able to like any of the characters.

The book’s set-up is this: four siblings, once they reach middle age, are to inherit a princely sum of money from their parents.

And all of them have set up their lives so they’re completely dependent on this big cash infusion for their future happiness.

Or so they think. (Or maybe they’re right?)

And then: Guess what??

Since they’re all set on inheriting the money, of course one of them messes up in a big way, so their mother decides to bail him out using the vast majority of the funds… thus ruining the lives of his siblings.

Or so they think. (Or maybe they’re right?)

Given that these people had all counted their chickens before they hatched–or put all their eggs in one basket–or whatever other obvious metaphor you’d like to use–I expected to feel little sympathy for these characters.

And this is where the author’s genius comes through.

She made me care about these people, even the ne’er-do-well brother whose irresponsible actions set the whole mess into motion.

So maybe I didn’t exactly like many of the characters, but I cared about them.

A big cast of characters, all fully developed and quite real — and with an author whose warmth toward them infuses an unexpected level of humanity into a story about the ways money can infest family life.