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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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4533023,009 (3.25)18
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)

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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 29 (next | show all)
Completely engrossing tale of high WASP and wannabee high WASP characters, organized around a weekend wedding on an island in New England. Extremely well written, with most characters full of life and truth. Lots of surprises; no hackneyed plot twists. Hated to finish! ( )
  jaaron | Jun 5, 2014 |
This story revolves around a weekend of wedding preparations for a very pregnant bride, daughter of Winn and Biddy. The entire extended families have convened, as have the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It is a time for reflection and memories, mainly by Winn, the father of the bride, and Livia, the bride's sister. Winn is a pretentious, shallow man whose main goal in life is to achieve membership in an exclusive club that doesn't want him. Livia's main goal is to find a man to replace the one she lost. Agatha, one of the bridesmaids, figures heavily in their drama. This is a well-crafted social satire. The poignancy is limited because the main characters are simply unlikable and self-absorbed, but Maggie Shipstead does an excellent job of portraying them within the confines of their limited lifestyle. ( )
1 vote pdebolt | May 16, 2014 |
A family prepares for a wedding. Over the course of a few days, sadness/hilarity/mayhem ensues. The hapless main character was not my type of protagonist but the surrounding characters redeem it. ( )
  Brainannex | May 5, 2014 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (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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