Janice Decker's Reviews > Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
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Aug 29, 2012

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Read on August 29, 2012

Another highly-recommended summer book, Seating Arrangements = WASPs have a wedding. I readily confess to a weakness for "inside the world of the rich" stories and seem particularly vulnerable during the hot months. They're all here: the WASP protagonist (father of the bride), his long-suffering wife, the hot bridesmaid, the problematic daughter, the cad groomsman, the secretly-gay old relative (gasp!) Seating Arrangements is of a slightly higher caliber than normal, showing off its author's way with an image and evocation of place, both of which are very good. But the author is a grad of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and wrote the book on the dime of Breadloaf and other network-your-way-in stipend providers, so you'd expect her to know her way around decent writing.

I think we may see more from this author, and given the shark tank that's the world of modern publishing, she's lucky this book was published. She has talent but this book probably should have marinated a little more, or an astute editor might have guided the author away from this particular worn-out story. I finished it a few days ago and cannot for the life of me remember how it ends, apart from not being as good as the ending of Six Feet Under -- but what is?

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