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Underground Nest [Kindle Edition]

Kathleen Maher
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

Never marry a Boy Scout.
When Zachary Severins, dedicated Scoutmaster and community leader, is caught cheating on his wife, she divorces him, his children lose respect for him, and his mistress spurns him. As Zach's personal life crumbles, his professional career begins to follow. Only after Zach loses everything does he start to learn the true meaning of friendship, love, and responsibility.
Underground Nest, a short novel, is contemporary fiction with a sharp sense of humor but a soft heart for its characters.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Underground Nest may be a mere 82 pages long, but it has more jam packed into those few pages than many full length novels ...Without giving anything away, this little novella will fill your senses, tease your brain, and give the Boy Scout motto of "be prepared" an entire new meaning." -- Ravenous Reader Book Reviews (ravenous-reader-book-reviews.blogspot.com)

About the Author

Kathleen Maher is the author of Diary of a Heretic, a novel, and her short fiction has appeared in literary journals including Ascent, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, Cottonwood, Descant (TCU), Gargoyle, Passages North, and The View From Here. Her work has been short-listed in numerous contests, including The William Faulkner Society Novel Competition, Iowa School of Letters Award, and Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She lives in New York City with her husband and is mother to two children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 243 KB
  • Print Length: 82 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Beekman Press (August 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008RR3QFY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at what lies beneath February 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this story first as a web serial when it was posted, and was really pleased to get hold of the book when it became available. Underground Nest, as the title might suggest, is not a story about happy families and white picket fences. It is about a man driven to accumulate an ideal wife, the ideal family, the ideal career, and the ideal lifestyle. Zach Severins knows how everything should look. He has the veneer so perfectly constructed that he has convinced even himself that it is all real.

From childhood Zach pursued this ideal, collecting each piece of his life like so many Scout badges. Scouting and the high standards it demands are central to his image. He was the youngest scout to attain his Eagle Scout award, and after holding it without blemish for 25 years, he was entitled to the highest accolade of all: the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He had his perfect wife, family, home, career and recognition. He even had a slew of meaningless secret affairs to add some spice to life. Zack was a man poised to own the world. And then a crack appeared.

Zach is not an easy man to like, but he is easy enough to understand. The plotting of his rise is all quite straightforward, and is detailed in the first third of the book. He is not unusual in his drive to succeed; we have all known and worked with people like Zach. He is not a bad man, and Kathleen Maher paints him with a sympathetic hand. She understands her character well, and his inevitable downfall and struggle to rebuild his life makes engrossing reading.

Zach's wife, Beth, plays the perfect host for her husband's deceptions and self-deceptions. She is not a weak woman, but is certainly the product of her world. She is a devoted mother and supportive and understanding wife.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fortunately - not all boy scouts are like Zach November 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
If one were to judge all Boy Scouts with the behaviour, personality and approach of Zach the organization would have been defunct within a handful of years. Zach is a character that you will find difficult to sympathise with, more than once I caught myself rolling my eyes at his calculated, practiced behaviour and his inability to take responsibility for his bad acts. The mind of a nine year old trapped in the body of an outwardly successful, upwardly mobile professor of political science, with a `need' for traveling `off-path' when it suits his sexual desires, he is hardly a likeable character.

This is a read that develops a gripping need to know what steps he takes next, just to see if he finds the light and sense to apologize and make amends or continue on the path of self-destruction. While Zach is the main character, he is developed with a facile hand with no judgment or justifications, his misdeeds and insecurities lay out clearly and evenly. Honestly, I had near visceral reactions to his smarmy aura and calculated interactions; they were so well defined and described by the author. He was not completely without redemption however, and those small moments of neediness laced with the honesty of his unguarded reactions did help to improve the overall impression when the story ended.

This is a completely different take on the adultery story that we are commonly used to reading: from the point of view and voice being the perpetrator rather than the cheated on spouse, his insecurities and justifications, and even his arrogance all provide an interesting perspective. This is no story of a mea culpa, even as the world as he knows it comes crumbling down and perhaps that is what makes it feel more pertinent and applicable to the real world situations that many might face.

I received an eBook copy from the author with request for honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something to make you think... October 11, 2012
By Beeshon
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this novella. At first, I didn't like the main characters--Zach Severins is a rather arrogant ex-Boy Scout: precise, rather intolerant, a bit narrow-minded, overweight...and a wife-cheater. His wife, Beth, is rather bland; his lover, Vida, is a little pompous, dominating, and selfish. His children...well his children are over-indulged and consequently a tad precocious.

However, this rather `mechanical' family unit is blown apart when Beth finds out about Zach's affair. His children lose any regard for him and things don't go too well in his job or with his impatient lover. The upwardly mobile and successful Zach starts to fall apart and has to chase threads of what he's about to lose to make things better in all areas of his life.

This is a neatly structured and well-balanced story, and what I liked was how this author so subtly managed to make such an unendearing bunch of characters more tolerable as the story unfolds--even likeable. You actually start to care about Zach and hope that things pan out for him--so the ending creeps up on you very quietly and all of a sudden makes you sit up with a bit of a jolt. Nicely done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social-Climbing for Fun and Profit September 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kathleen Maher's style is engaging, but not in an obvious way. And within that subtlety lies the beauty of her work. The result, at least in this novel, is that the resonance of her narrative remains strong and true and lasting.

In this tale we follow Zach, an energetic, ambitious social-climber with an expanding waistline, as he blasts his way through marriage, extra-marital affairs, boy scout meetings, and business appointments alike. Over the 20+ years of this storyline, Zach's life is filled with triumphs and tragedies, thrills and thumps.

It's a difficult task, of course, for a writer to engage the reader so easily. And it's an even MORE difficult task indeed to plug the reader into your story when your narrative involves a deeply flawed and (some might even say) repugnant main character. Ms. Maher accomplishes this brilliantly.

This is a story that feels authentic from the start, and maintains that authenticity to its watery end. It's a fun ride along the way, and a quick, emotionally-engaging read.

Highly recommended.
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More About the Author

I write fiction that's fast and fun but doesn't belong to a genre. Plot and character development run neck and neck--at least that's the balance I'm aiming for. I love to write, and to rewrite, and strive for prose that's natural, rhythmic, and intimate.

I love to hear from readers! Ask me anything.

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