Thursday, May 31, 2012

Seating Arrangements-Maggie Shipstead

Seating Arrangements

Maggie Shipstead

Knopf, Jun 12 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307599469

The two extended families gather together for the marriage of seven months pregnant Daphne Van Meter and Greyson Duff at the former’s exclusive Waskeke Island summer home. Daphne’s Boston Brahmin banker father Winn hits on Agatha the bridesmaid while his wife Biddy runs the wedding events like a General with her mantra to insure no scandals occur though she would prefer her daughter marry for love unlike what she did. Their other daughter Livia remains heartbroken over Teddy Fenn dumping her, but considers a weekend tryst with one of Greyson's brothers while rejecting another of the groom's siblings who openly shows interest in her. In between imbibing Daphne’s maternal Aunt Celeste looks over the male attendees like a shark seeking her next “marital” meal.

This lampooning of the American family is a jocular look at two clans merging into one during a marriage ceremony. The ensemble cast comes across as fragile with each trying to hide their flaws with varying forms of bravado. Mindful of Meredith Goldstein’s The Singles, although over the three day weekend very little happens beyond satirizing the sanctity of family, fans will enjoy this “Meet the” Van Meters and Duffs.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: