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Maggie Shipstead’s Seating Arrangements is a stunning debut, an irresistible social satire that is also an unforgettable meditation on the persistence of hope, the yearning for connection, and the promise of enduring love.
Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff. Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.
Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice.
This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Too much background not enough dialog. Boring
The writing is this book is lovely. The author has excellent training and she shines when she describes settings, and the settings are fun! Harvard clubs and exclusive summer beach houses. If you want a dreamy book about these places and the people who inhabit them, then this would be a great choice. However, if you are looking for more substance or excitement then maybe pass on this one. I would give this book a five for prose but a two for plot development and character arcs.
I agree with previous review. The writing was 4 star but the plot had no substance. I'm glad I had a copy from the library rather than purchase this book. I didn't think it was worth finishing. I give it one star.