Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Tweet:  Maggie Shipstead has delivered a wickedly witty, urbane, laugh-out-loud delicious read.

The Van Meter family has gathered at their home on Waskeke (think Nantucket) to celebrate the wedding of daughter Daphne, seven months pregnant.   Harvard educated patriarch Winn Van Meter , who organizes his life through club memberships and social niceties, finds himself unexpectedly lusting after bridesmaid Agnes.  Daughter Livia is recovering from a romance gone sour, and Winn’s wife Biddy stoically propels the weekend forward while keeping her own fomenting emotions in check.

Together with a wonderful cast of characters, the Van Meters struggle to understand their relationships both within and outside of their family.  Ms. Shipstead wryly explores the polarity of belonging and being an outcast, and how each character must maneuver between the two.   Seating Arrangements is intelligent and wonderfully written, a thinking person’s guilty pleasure.