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Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Seating Arrangements (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Maggie Shipstead

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6184015,758 (3.19)25
Title:Seating Arrangements
Authors:Maggie Shipstead
Info:Knopf (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 2012, ebook

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Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (2012)

  1. 00
    Maine: A Novel by J. Courtney Sullivan (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Boozy family dysfunction in the New England WASP summer home set.

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Apparently it's a thing to hate the output of alum from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, because as you skim through the reviews on GoodReads, the comments are peppered with snide remarks and tut-tutting of the decline of quality of IWW's output. Who knew?

Was Seating Arrangements a tour de force and innovative? No. Was it sloppy and a bit amateurish at times? Absolutely. Was the language overwrought? At times. But is this a bad story? The short answer is no. It's clunky, some of the plot points felt like they were thrown in at the last minute, and some of the characters were definitely there to fill a quota but there is something here. You just have to be patient as you dig through the muck and Shipstead can turn a beautiful phrase more often than not.
I could be a bit biased -- I have a weakness for anything relating to farces surrounding blue bloods and their world. And this felt like someone had done their research and wrote as if they knew this particular world without ever having stepped into it. So think of this as if Whit Stillman and Bret Easton Ellis were high on acid, conceived Shipstead as their prodigal daughter in their ultra preppy way and you'll have encompassed the writer completely. ( )
  byshieldmaiden | Jan 17, 2017 |
I really loved the book until the last section. It felt like the author had invested so much time in describing the scenes and people in them, and then the last bit was glossed over very casually. Almost like two completely different books. If you like Nantucket-ish preppy people and their messy lives, then you'll like this book for sure. ( )
  BooksForYears | Apr 1, 2016 |
I always wait until I finish a book before I look at reviews. I am glad I take this approach. Reading, "liking" a novel, is such a personal journey. Why "liking" in quotation marks? Because reviews seem to be about personal preference rather than the literary value of a book. So I won't bother with my personal reaction to Seating Arrangements. My only "review"... make your mind up about a book by reading it rather than by reading other people's opinions of it. ( )
  SharonRILINK | Mar 4, 2016 |
Don't understand the fuss. No characters, just caricatures. ( )
  ellenuw | Jan 27, 2016 |
I loved this book . . . until the end. It seemed to just kind of end, but I don't know where else it might have gone I guess. Everyone had some closure. The author is great at taking us in and out of everyone's stories and giving us a sense of place. Very nicely done. I enjoyed it a lot. ( )
  BethEtter | Dec 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or another testimony of summer nights.  The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of City directors;
Departed, have left no addresses.
T.S. ELIOT, "The Waste Land"
To my parents, Patrick and Susan,
pillars of everything
First words
By Sunday the wedding would be over, and for that Winn Van Meter was grateful.
Makeup pencils and brushes were everywhere, abandoned helter-skelter as though by the fleeing beauticians of Pompeii.
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"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"--Dust jacket.… (more)

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