We’re thrilled to have New York Times bestselling author Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney visit the Tall Poppy blog today! THE NEST, her debut, was an instant NYT bestseller and one Elizabeth Gilbert called, “A masterfully constructed, darkly comic, and immensely captivating tale…” about four adult siblings and a shared inheritance.
So in case you haven’t yet read or added THE NEST to your TBR pile (what are you waiting for?), here’s more about this bestselling novel…
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.
Cynthia stopped by to take our Tall Poppy Q&A, where she shares her favorite time of day, which book always makes her laugh, and what she’s currently reading…
Where do you love to be?
Anywhere that requires a passport and a foreign-language “useful phrases” book in my pocket. If that place happens to be somewhere in Italy, so much the better.
What time of day do you love best?
I love the late afternoon/early evening when I’m done with my work day and head into the kitchen and am thinking about what to make for dinner. Cooking is my favorite creative expression because it’s improvisational (at least the way I do it), useful, and I can do it while listening to music. There is something very soothing to me about chopping and slicing and sautéing.
Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.
Nora Ephron’s novel “Heartburn.” I pick it up every few years and am always struck by how honest and tender it is while being deeply, deeply funny.
What is the best perk of your job?
Reading fiction is a critical part of my job and every time I open a book I want to read and can call it “work,” I get a little thrill.
What’s your favorite part about book promotion? Least favorite?
My favorite part is meeting readers and hearing their stories or answering their questions. I also love meeting booksellers because they are so passionate about their jobs and are so knowledgeable about books. My least favorite part is talking about myself!
What are you reading right now?
“The Green Road” by Anne Enright, which is rocking my world; “Shrill” by Lindy West, ditto.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Cynthia!
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons. She has an MFA from The Bennington Writing Seminars. Previously, she lived and worked in New York City for more than two decades, writing copy for a variety of clients, including American Express, McDonald’s and more defunct Internet start-ups than she cares to count. Her non-fiction essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine and Martha Stewart Living. The Nest is her first novel.