Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s ‘The Nest’ is a quintessential New York novel

Here’s what everyone will be reading on the subway this spring.

“The Nest,” a debut novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, follows four adult siblings (and their families, acquaintances, enemies, friends, rivals, coworkers and neighbors, because that’s how New York works) through the city as they vie for an inheritance promised to them in the near future.

An accident on the East End, a meeting at Grand Central and several boroughs worth of drama make this book Amy Poehler called “intoxicating” the type of book that will make you miss your subway stop. Or several.

Over tea at City Bakery (not mentioned in the book), Sweeney, who now lives in L.A. after 27 post-college years in NYC, explained that the impetus for this book occurred on an October Sunday morning during a freak snowstorm.

“I was walking to brunch and I saw all these people sitting in the windows having their mimosas and this image just flashed into my mind of family members who were about to meet one another, having drinks in separate bars in the same four corners,” she said. “That image just stuck in my head and I started playing around with it, thinking who are these people and what is their relationship and why do they need to have a drink before they see each other and what are they meeting about that’s fraught and why can’t they drink in front of one another.”

All of those questions and more are answered in 353 pages of Sweeney’s fiction, very much rooted in New York City, from a Prospect Heights brownstone similar to a house she lived in to a West Village apartment inspired by another former residence. “I wanted my New York to feel lively and specific,” she said of the city she roots her characters in.

“It was a little way of spending time in New York without actually being here,” said Sweeney, who planned a special trip to NYC to visit every location from the novel when she completed it. “I wanted it to feel very real to people who know New York.”

Whether you’re looking for a good place to read the book or are already addicted, bring the pages to life with our Nest-centric NYC tour.

Melissa Kravitz