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Underground Nest by [Maher, Kathleen]
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Underground Nest Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 82 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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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: 359 KB
  • Print Length: 82 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Beekman Press (August 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008RR3QFY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #626,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
Kathleen Maher's novel centers around the dissolution of the proto-typical American family. Mom, dad, son, daughter. Dad is the breadwinner, a former Eagle Scout and Boy Scout supporter who teaches Political Science. The kids go through the normal growing pains, although the son does follow dad up the Boy Scout ladder. Mom stays home and lives a housewife existence rarely seen today. The daughter rebels -- at times.

Not surprisingly, the "underground nest" of the title tells us that just beneath the surface, a nest of hornets await. Zach Severins is the dad, and beneath his perfect surface is an obsession with himself and what others think of him, a tendency to find sex outside of his marriage, and eventually a long-term relationship with a woman who moves in the top circles of Washington D.C.

Eventually, the surface collapses and we watch as Zach's perfect life is exposed for the lie it is. To avoid giving away too much of the plot, suffice it say that everything unravels. The result is that Zach is forced to reexamine himself and given the chance to redeem his life. The novel ends before we see if a promising beginning is followed through, but I'm not convinced that two years down the road, he would not be in a similar situation.

The story is interesting and Maher moves the plot along quickly and deftly. Where it suffers is in the characters, a group of somewhat two-dimensional people who must have more going on than what we see. As a result, the reader is often surprised at what is happening. After they separate, Zach and his wife, Beth, have an ongoing "angry sex" routine, but from we know of Beth, this seems out of character. Even the children seem to move in and out of anger faster than the normal teenager who finds out their dad has been having an affair.
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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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