Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Shipstead’s hilarious social satire is deceptively frothy. It is really a rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and the dangers of leading an inauthentic life.
Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke sight of his daughter’s summer wedding. 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 daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff. Winn wonders when weddings became state dinners and missile launches. Biddy, Winn’s wife, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are swept aside by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival and 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.
This is perfect summer read for the beach or wherever you are. The New England landscape and atmosphere are described perfectly and the wide cast of characters are genuine types that everyone will recognize. This book is both funny and poignant.
~ Carol K.