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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  683 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Shortlisted for The Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal 2015Longlisted for The Miles Franklin Literary Award 2015Longlisted for The Australian Literary Studies Gold Medal 2015Longlisted for The Stella Prize 2015 A gripping and thought-provoking novel about finding the lost child in all of us.
Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Hachette Australia (first published July 1st 2014)
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Jen decides to travel back to Queensland after a relationship breakdown. The house she bought was nothing fancy in fact, it was quite the opposite it was dilapidated and neglected, but that never bothered Jen. Just being back in the area where she grew up was all she cared about. Jen loved her surroundings, it was peaceful, which is just what she needed.

The only person Jen sees regularly is young Henry. Henry visits Jen after school for drawing lessons. One day during a lesson Henry informs Jen
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Jen had felt the artist within her for her whole life – nature and the wild spoke to her in a way no human being ever had. After spending four years at art school she moved on to teaching. But now she had returned to her roots, to the area in Queensland where she was a child. She had bought an old home, rundown and ramshackle, but somehow hers. The bush, the beautiful birds, the other creatures on her semi tropical property – all calmed her, soothed her. The little room she called her studio was ...more
Inga Simpson writes as beautifully in this book as she did in Mr Wigg. It is more like a diary of daily events than a story, although the reader does discover some of the main character's history along the way and there is some added mystery in the disappearances of two children. I enjoyed a lot of this book but occasionally felt there was a little too much description of Jen's activities. Maybe not really my kind of book but still a very pleasant read. ...more
Very soothing and gentle, which is something to keep in mind if you're thinking of reading this - I think you have to be in the mood, and it's a more appropriate read for summer than winter. The opening chapters set up a dual mystery, with the present-day disappearance of a schoolgirl mirroring events in protagonist Jen's childhood. But the vast majority of the book is given over to lush and detailed descriptions of the flora and wildlife surrounding Jen's home. While beautifully expressive, the ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review: the short version (without all the gorgeous prose quotes). I loved this book. I am going to buy my own copy! It is filled with beautiful prose but also has a great plot and a marvellous central character. I want to know what happened after that: did Jen ever get in touch with Stan? Did the ornithologist turn up? Did he like her nest? This is a beautiful book. I will get Inga Simpson’s next book without any hesitation. Read it!
The longer version:
“…the moments that most change your life, y
☼♄Jülie 

Nest by Inga Simpson

..."Something fell away, inside. Jen tried to catch it and jam it back, to stop the rush of realisation, the terrible clicking into place of all those images and pieces of information -- but it was no good. Daddy wasn't coming home."

I can't tell you what this book is about, you need to experience it for yourself, read the cover and understand that it is all that, and yet it is also about so much more than the cover describes.
If you love the written word, you won't be disappoi
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After taking early retirement from teaching, Jen returns to the small Queensland town where she grew up, for a quiet life of art, nature, baking and coming to terms with the past.

She woke early, when the rain stopped. The frogs had sung all night, reconstituted as if by magic. She dressed and hurried out onto the back deck. The air was washed clean. Green had returned to the land, moss refreshed, birds out hunting. Even the lettuces were sitting up in a way they never did after hand-watering.

This is a beautiful novel about a woman called Jen who has returned to her childhood home to live a simpler life and recover from grief and lost love. Inga Simpson writes lyrically about the birds and trees that make up Jen's surroundings and clearly has a fine eye for noting the small details and nuances of the natural world. The descriptions of the birds are so sharp and colourful you can almost see them in your mind's eye, such as these Eastern Robins bathing: "Of all the birds, they were the ...more
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars.
Having adored Mr.Wiggs, written by the same author, I was so looking forward to reading Nest. I loved the cover and the first page had me thinking how I would enjoy his story. In what seems to be a popular theme in novels these days Jen, an artist and teacher, has returned to the small town where she grew up. Her only regular visitor is Henry who comes to her for art lessons. When Caitlin, a girl in Henrys’ class goes missing it brings back memories of her childhood friend
Lisa Walker
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘She was trying to capture the wild – the essence of leaf, flower and bird.’ Jen, the protagonist of Inga Simpson’s book, ‘Nest’ is an artist, a drawer of birds. After a relationship breakup and her mother’s death, Jen returns to the town she grew up in. There, she regenerates her patch of land and draws the many birds attracted by her birdbath.

Jen leads an isolated life. With the exception of her young pupil Henry, who she is teaching to draw, she has little social contact. It is through Henry
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

After a relationship breakdown and the death of her mother, artist Jen Vogel has taken refuge in her childhood hometown. Here she is content to sketch and paint the birds that visit her garden, care for the land that embraces her property and tutor a talented local teen to supplement her income, but unpleasant memories are revived when a young girl goes missing on her way home from school. Nearly four decades earlier, Jen's best friend Michael, and then her father, disappeared without a trace wi
Jeanette Lewis
The author has gone to great pains to beautifully describe the abundance of bird life and of the ever changing vegetation of the Australian landscape. Burnt dry one minute and drowning in torrential rain the next minute. The story revolves around one central character, Jen. Jen is trying to cope with her past, family and personal relationships and how they have impacted on her in making her a loner. Jen sees the world through an artistic eye, one that is very different than most.
The story drags
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:
Life affirming, restful and restorative.

This is a beautifully painted picture of rich colours, ruffled feathers, about creating a space, a nest; to lie in, to return to, to heal and nurture oneself in or is this more about the empty nest? This is a complicated narrative beautifully told.

It was by coincidence I picked up this book just as we were travelling around south east Queensland, here, now, the land is dry and waiting for the rains as is the area and town this book is set in. I rea
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inga Simpson writes with an unassuming quietness that positively drips with poetic prettiness.

Jen is back in her home town. Her relationship over, her mother deceased and a career change that sees her move from full time teaching to tutoring young Henry in art. When Henry's classmate goes missing, it brings up memories fro Jen, from 20 years ago when her best friend Michael went missing and her father left without so much as a word never to return. There was talk then, and there was bound to be
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nest is delightfully written. The characters engaging (especially the birds). The tone and pace are well structured, and the concept is well developed and thoroughly engaging.
- Félix Calvino
Jen has returned to her childhood town in the subtropics of Eastern Australia. She teaches art and watched the birds and wildlife in her jungle home. As a child from the town goes missing, Jen is reminded of the loss of her father and her best friend when she was a child. Jen’s return to her nest reconnects her to this mystery of the past, and to meaning. Her relationship with her student, Henry, is both a friendship and a mentorship.

The languid pace of this book luxuriates in gorgeous descript
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this is quite incredible and can see why it has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Beautifully constructed as it draws you into a world amongst the tree tops. Her depictions of our feathered friends is stunning and I love that even within the bird species how she separates good from evil. It is a book of self reflection and revealing outcomes.
I love this particular paragraph which to me sums ups the story
"She climbed into her nest while it rested on her porch branch, then raise
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: more-please
This is a short, gentle novel about home, loss, and relationships, but it's also some of the most exquisite nature writing I've come across--especially if you think bird-watching in the subtropics of Eastern Australia sounds cool, and you think about who inhabits the trees you see every day, which I do.

ETA a link to Lauredhel's wonderful, much more thorough review

CW: missing children
Melissa Ashley
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the breakup of her marriage, Jen restarts her life, returning to the sunshine coast hinterland, where she grew up. She has a few acres on which she maintains a garden and birdbaths, the activities around which form the subjects in her watercolour paintings. When Jen’s drawing student, high-schooler Henry, tells her that a classmate has gone missing, Jen is tumbled back to her own troubled childhood, where she, too, suffered the unexplained loss of loved ones--her dear school friend, Michae ...more
Kate Forsyth
Nest – Inga Simpson

Inga Simpson is an Australian writer and Nest is a rhapsody about the importance of being at one with the natural world. The protagonist Jen is a middle-aged artist who has retreated from the world after a bitter break-up. She lives on the edge of a sub-tropical rainforest, which she has turned into a paradise for native birds and animals. Hers is a quiet life; she watches the birds, teaches a local boy to draw and paint, and practises her own art when she can. One day a local
Australia is blessed with its current and emerging writing talents.

Nest is the second book from Inga Simpson, an author who is worth following. The book slowly drifts along, with poetic and lyrical references the birds, landscapes and weather surrounding the life of Jen, a successful artist, who is dealing with a traumatic childhood where her best friend and her father both went missing on the same day. Now nearing her 40s, Jen has returned to the town and finds old memories coming back when an
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a plot centred on 4 mysteries - two missing children, a missing father, and a missing partner - this novel feels unhurried, and is driven more by Jen's connection to place and nature. The missing partner mystery is one for the reader, rather than Jen herself to discover, and it unfolds slowly throughout the book. The missing father unravels surprisingly easily, considering how little Jen knew. The missing children plot, in the end, is more a back story than anything central to the narrative. ...more
Tina White
Probably a 3.5 nearly a 4. I loved the appreciation for nature, the detailed bird knowledge. I just thought the main story was lost a little in the detail. It did give me a new interest in bird varieties and behaviour though.
Michael Livingston
A really beautiful book about birds, nature, art, family and how to make a life. As a bird-nerd who grew up around the areas that this is set I might be particularly biased to love it, but it's bound to appeal to anyone with a passing interest in nature writing and literary fiction.
Jen was once an artist and a teacher, but now she spends her times watching birds and working in her gardens. Her house is surrounded by her lush sub-tropical gardens which help keep her from being disturbed by other people in the small town that she grew up in. The only person she sees regularly is Henry who comes after school for drawing lessons. However a girl in his class has gone missing, which pulls Jen back into her past where she lost both her father and best friend in the same week. Now ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm very grateful that the inclusion of NEST in the 2015 Ned Kelly Submissions meant that this wonderful book by Inga Simpson came to my attention. I'm not sure that I'd call this a crime novel, but it's beautiful, engaging and extremely readable.

Reflective and languidly paced, NEST sees Jen Vogel return to the bush town of her childhood. Her mother has recently died, her long-term relationship ended and Jen has returned to her "nest", to the place where she feels safe. A wildlife artist, the ga
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved living in this story, and it was such a pity when I reached the end. This book is a real slow burner, and is essentially about nothing much more than a lady in her early fifties who is an artist, living alone on a rural block, and her day to day life through one year of seasons. Yet there is so much to this simplicity, and I wanted to stay sitting with Jen, the protagonist.

There's some intrigues delivered along the way, about a child in the village who has gone missing, in the same way a
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another beautiful novel by Inga Simpson. Once again the text is so descriptive, I was transported to Jen's backyard, I could feel the humidity on my skin and see the beautiful wildlife. A lovely book about healing yourself with nature, new beginnings and letting go of the past. X
Helen King
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful, lyrical, thoughtful - I really enjoyed it. BUT - I can't put a finger exactly on it, but it felt slightly removed / distant, as if the author was still keeping something back. So a little bit closed off in some ways. Recommended, but with that caveat.
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just beautiful. I didn't think mr wigg could be outdone but this is a stunning, heartfelt novel.
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A novelist and nature writer, her work explores our relationship with the natural world.

Inga grew up in central west NSW, and has lived in Canberra, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. She is now based on the far south coast of NSW.

UNDERSTORY: a life with trees (2017), Inga's first book-length work of nature writing, was short

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“As she learned since, the moments that most change your life, you never see coming. Your position, from deep within the movement - the shift itself - does not permit a clear view. It is just a feeling, a sense of the ground loosening beneath your feet.” 0 likes
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