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Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
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Seating Arrangements (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Maggie Shipstead

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422None24,941 (3.21)15
Member:loringp
Title:Seating Arrangements
Authors:Maggie Shipstead
Info:Knopf (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:read in 2012, social satire, WASPs, New England, books that have successful endings but that don't do such a great job getting you to those endings, chick lit

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Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (2012)

Recently added bymtgillis59, mfiehn, guylian1609, private library, nanalb, lizatclif, Figgy1974, mannek
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    Maine 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 26 (next | show all)
I just couldn't be bothered to feel sorry for these poor, rich, white people who scream "Pity me" from every page. Not to mention that the story is entirely predictable - I wasn't surprised by anything. ( )
  aea2142 | Jan 12, 2014 |
Back when this came out it got a fair bit of press so that when a free copy came my way, I read it right away. I’m glad that’s how I came by it because it’s not something I’m going to revisit. Not for the reason most people give, that the characters are loathsome, which they are, but because they’re boring, too. It’s been about a week since I turned the last page and I can’t really tell you anything about it, that’s how non-affecting it was. Rich people with lots of baggage and delusions. Winn’s obsession with various clubs and the social importance he thinks they give was pretty funny. Especially when he’s told straight out that he won’t get into his most coveted aerie. Even his family thinks he’s ridiculous. Livia was just immature and I didn’t find her as interesting as her dad. There is some nice language in it and phrases and the atmosphere is thorough, so I can’t fault the writing. The subject though isn’t interesting enough for me to return. ( )
  Bookmarque | Nov 15, 2013 |
LOVED this book! Shipstead captures the nuances of characters and relationships brilliantly. She pokes fun at her characters' foibles and pretensions while still showing respect and affection for them. It is a "problems of the privileged" novel, so if you don't like reading that type of book, you probably won't like this book. ( )
  lwilkner | Oct 30, 2013 |
Engaging and thoroughly descriptive writing put me right on Waskeke with the Van Meters. The main characters are all so flawed, and all so very human, all yearning for a true connection that you can't help but pity them as they struggle with their own inner desires and unspoken wishes suppressed underneath the stifling demands of having to keep up appearances. Above all, there is a great sense of desperation from the characters who all yearn for a life of freedom but don't exactly understand how they'd live if they got it. The Van Meters are cautionary examples against living an inauthentic life, but at the same time one can relate to their basic human need for connection, hope and love. ( )
  applessixeleven | Oct 12, 2013 |
A pitch-perfect comedy of manners examining the cracks in an upper-class family during one wedding weekend. I gobbled it up in a matter of hours. ( )
1 vote twopairsofglasses | Sep 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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"
Dedication
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.
Quotations
Makeup pencils and brushes were everywhere, abandoned helter-skelter as though by the fleeing beauticians of Pompeii.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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