Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Seating Arrangements

Author: Maggie Shipstead

Published: 1 July 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins - Blue Door

What They Say: Maggie Shipstead’s irresistible social satire, set on an exclusive New England island over a wedding weekend in June, provides a deliciously biting glimpse into the lives of the well-bred and ill-behaved.

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.

What Sheli Says: This book centres around a WASPy family in New England as they have a family gathering for a wedding. The family turn out to be less than perfect and the inevitable family bickering starts and skeletons start falling out of the cupboard.

This story is well put together and a good debut, but not a lot happens. I have found this symptomatic of a few literary novels over the last two years or so, but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment. I wasn't sure if I would like this book at first, but enjoyed reading it although it won't make it's way onto my favourites list.

A little reminiscent of The Marriage Plot and made me picture a Stepford Wives-esque family. All in all, a good read and definitely recommended for a literary soap opera!

I received this book as an advance review copy from Lovereading in exchange for an honest review.

Sheli's Rating: 7/10

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