Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

It took me a month to finish this book. I tell you that not to discourage you but because I am in complete awe; it should have taken just a few days.

I love books like these; the type that take place in New England (preferably coastal) and include lots of WASP-isms. This one happens to take place during the weekend of a wedding, though the wedding is not a big part of the plot (so if you’re hoping for some wedding glitz, this one’s not for you).

Give me an island full of semi-ridiculous people to observe while sipping my gin and tonic and I’ll be happy (and possibly in my element). Eccentricities, competitiveness, whale-shorts, and clubs populate this book. The aunt who’s never sober (but we don’t mention that), the marriages that are beige and a ย sham, and the ones that are beige and aren’t. The trying to fit in, but (of course) not mentioning it if you don’t. The competitiveness over inane things that feel so much more important than they ever could be. It’s all there and all spot-on. Shipstead doesn’t try to go too deep, and she relies on the fact that this is a satire to not have to. An easy, well-written, funny, and (actually) poignant novel – it’s a fantastic one for summer. Preferably by the ocean on the deck of a house with a whale over the front door.

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3 thoughts on “Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

  1. Pingback: Literary Travel :: To New England | Unputdownables

  2. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one – I have been in a bit of a reading rut and have been looking for a good summer read and thought this one might fit the bill! Lately it it has been taking me months to finish books, not because I don’t want them to end, but because they are sufficiently “meh” that I can’t be bothered to read… that must change!

    • I’ve been that way too Steph – it’s been terrible. If you want one that’s just going to make you turn pages and get your mojo back, Gone Girl is a good one to try. This one is very well written, though the plot doesn’t move at break-neck speed. I totally loved it, just wanted to give you another recommendation. :)

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