Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements
by Maggie Shipstead

Seating Arrangements was the "book of the summer" in 2012, but I read it last month :)

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: As the book begins, Winn Van Meter is headed to a Nantucket-like island, his summer house, and his older daughter Daphne's wedding. When he arrives, daughters, bridesmaids, wife, and sister-in-law have taken over his home. The book submerges you into the world of the WASPs. The novel's told from the perspective of Winn, who is sometimes sympathetic, other times just annoying. He is not the most likable character, and sometimes I got bored with him and it was hard to read, yet the writing itself is exquisite and the characters well-drawn. Livia, the younger daughter getting over a heartbreak and merely tolerating the wedding, was most interesting to me. 

Extras: Shipstead won a prestigious International Dylan Thomas Writing Prize as a result of this book.
 I watched part of this author discussion which mentions the book's genesis. 
I also appreciated the interview which noted Shipstead was aware that readers might be turned off by Winn's "first-world problems" of golf club waiting lists and such. 

**Out of her two books, I would recommend Astonish Me over this one.**

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