Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307599469
Characteristics: ix, 301 p. ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 25, 2015

I listened to this as an audiobook. It was, well, a bit ridiculous, but entertaining for a couple long drives.

Jul 30, 2014

I actually really enjoyed this first time author's book. It made me laugh, shocked me at times, & I thought it was superior writing. I like books like that are different and this was.

May 03, 2014

There is a lot of mixed reviews of this novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. In some instances it had an Updikean feel to it. A great first novel by a splendid craftsperson. Put this on your summer reading list. I was so glad that this novel did not devolve into ChicLit or Romance. Also it was helpful not to have any smartphones, texting or social media escapades that litter so many novels these days with tiresome details.

JCLKinsleyR Apr 02, 2014

Wonderful tale of all the entanglements of family, friends, relationships, ages, divorces,, it's all there.

oO_Oo Aug 30, 2013

A boring, tiresome book with a bunch of morally bankrupt characters. I felt like putting my head in the oven afterwards, especially given that I used up my valuable reading time on this. There is not much time in life and there are much better books.

WVMLStaffPicks May 31, 2013

Weddings are often a time of family and personal reflection. It is difficult interacting under pressure, mixing new families with old—as Winn Van Meter discovers during the three days before his daughter’s wedding. The book is filled with funny misbehaviours and social situations. As you read the verbal exchanges, you keep hoping that, as the action rolls on, someone will wise up before the conversation ends in a way that is not as uproariously hilarious to the characters as it is to readers. A great social satire.

jeanner222 Nov 09, 2012

Our story takes place over the course of three days, as a WASP-y family, the Van Meters, prepares for daughter Daphne’s wedding day. Daphne’s odd family includes: her father, Winn, a man obsessed with social status and appearances and sister Livia, recently dumped and agonizing over an aborted pregnancy.

Pregnant Daphne and groom Greyson are not the focus of our attention. Instead, readers are treated to the antics of their families and the wedding party. Sex, an exploding whale, and a broken finger are a few highlights.

Touted as “hilarious,” this novel does nothing for me. It is not funny. Characters are repellent. Situations are uninteresting. Blah.

Aug 21, 2012

Rarely have I read a book where I could not find one redeeming quality in any of the characters! Well written but exasperating.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top