The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is a novel full of family drama centered around the Plumb siblings’ shared inheritance–”the nest.” The story is set in New York City and it follows the lives of the Plumbs, specifically the four adult siblings Leo, Beatrice “Bea,” Melody, and Jack. Once Leo is involved in a drug and alcohol-fueled incident that leaves someone hospitalized in dire condition, the state of the nest is thrown into jeopardy. This is bad news for all of the Plumb siblings who have come to rely on that future windfall in their own ways.
The Nest Review
This book was entertaining in a soap opera way. There were many clichés throughout, including the characters themselves. Leo is a divorced NYC business man, coke head, and Casanova–not exactly a never before seen trope. Bea is a has-been writer who is struggling with new material while trying to break away from her former writing identity. Add in a predictably aloof, wealthy, and disinterested matriarch, and I think you probably already have a good feel of what this book is like.
The characters are flawed, but this is usually a good thing in my book. The issue is that they are superficial and predictable. This is all not to say that I didn’t enjoy the read. I did, just not as much as I thought I would. What I found most interesting was the emphasis on how much power money has in our lives. Certainly, that’s no secret, but here, it’s not money itself, but just the idea and promise of money that has directed the Plumb siblings’ lives. Really, it’s about how a promise isn’t a guarantee and why you shouldn’t count your chickens.
The setting is largely NYC, and we rarely hear about the characters without a drink in their hands. This adds to the superficial feel, but who doesn’t love the fantasy of having a cocktail in a Manhattan restaurant on a sunny day with the world is bustling around you? Clichés are clichés for a reason.
There’s not much mention of traditional desserts in this book, but dessert doesn’t always have to mean a cake or pie. An after dinner cocktail can do just as good a job of punctuating a meal. And if we’re going to stick to the theme of predictability, what better than to pair this NYC-centric book with one of the most iconic NYC cocktails–the Manhattan.
Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
Legend has it that the Manhattan was created at the Manhattan Club in NYC by Winston Churchill’s mother! However, this has been shown to be false, though it still makes a good story, and there are many such stories floating around this cocktail. Whatever the truth may be, if you like whiskey, it’s near perfect.
- 2 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
- Fill a pint glass with ice. Add in whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well.
- Strain into chilled glass and garnish with cherry.
For best results, I recommend chilling your serving glass beforehand by filling with ice. Dump out the ice when you’re ready to pour in the cocktail. Also, you can also make a version of the Manhattan with dry vermouth. The recipe and ratio is the same to make a dry Manhattan, but substitute dry for sweet vermouth. Enjoy!
Did you disagree with my thoughts on The Nest, or do you have any feelings on the Manhattan? Let me know below!
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