In his first novel for older reader, Paul Jennings weaves together an intriguingly layered tale that creeps up on the reader with stunning originality and an unexpected but classic Jennings twist.
Freed from the self imposed restraints which caution children's authors, Jennings wades into deep, untested waters and explores the boundaries between creativity and madness. What are the origins of our daily imaginings? Why do we think what we do? And how can we cope with unwanted, pervasive images? Dark, tense and subversive, The Nest is an ultimately uplifting story of a boy who dares to stare into the spider holes of his own mind.
Sixteen-year-old Robin lives in the Victorian Alps. His father is a tyrant and his mother disappeared when he was only a baby. All he has left of her is a white gold ring, and antique hairbrush with a few strands of her red hair, and uncanny clues which mysteriously appear in his own writing.
He's nuts about Charlie, daughter of the local ranger, and in a moment of wild impulse he's pledged to donate $500 to help her bring some Somali kids from Melbourne to the snowfields. The problem is he doesn't have the money.
Weighed down by guilt and misunderstanding over a kiss and a dead bird, Robin begins having glimpses into the darkest side of his own soul. He escapes to his room to write. He doesn't know where his ideas come from- they're just stories- or are they? What does Robin really know about his past? Are there clues in his own writing? And what secrets lie within the frozen forest?
As Robin starts to piece things together towards a dramatic climax, so too builds the intensity of everything else going on in his life: his fears and confusions; his hopeless relationships; and the desire for his first love.
Paul Jennings sales surpassed 8 million copies in 2007. In 1995 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for Services to Literature, and in 2001 was awarded the Dromkeen Medal for his significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children's literature. He lives in Warrnambool, Victoria, on twenty-one hectares of coastal land which he is turning into a wildlife refuge by replacing the introduced plants with species that once made up the original native forest.
Author: Paul Jennings