Seating Arrangements (Vintage Contemporaries)

Seating Arrangements (Vintage Contemporaries)

Maggie Shipstead

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0307743950

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A San Francisco Chronicle and Daily Candy Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction
Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to the impeccably appropriate Greyson Duff. The weekend is full of champagne, salt air and practiced bonhomie, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust stir beneath the surface.

Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is not having a good time. Barred from the exclusive social club he’s been eyeing since birth, he’s also tormented by an inappropriate crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid, Agatha, and the fear that his daughter, Livia—recently heartbroken by the son of his greatest rival—is a too-ready target for the wiles of Greyson’s best man. When old resentments, a beached whale and an escaped lobster are added to the mix, the wedding that should have gone off with military precision threatens to become a spectacle of misbehavior.

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without interest. The lanterns burnished the dog’s coat and caught the whites of his eyes. He was the size and shape of an oil drum. “Hey, get away from there,” Francis said when the dog went for the plate beside his feet. “Come here,” called Agatha. “Here, boy! Here!” “What is he looking for?” said Dominique as the dog bustled past, his black nose searching the air and then following an invisible trail along the deck and then revisiting the air. “He’s looking for the treasure of the Sierra

Daphne called from her chair. Piper, sitting in her crater, flapped one hand in response. “Is she laughing or crying?” Livia said. Dominique shaded her eyes with her hand and watched the boys haul Piper to her feet, spindly as a child. “Beats me.” “Where are all these people going?” Daphne asked, watching another Jeep cruise by. “Hey!” she called. “Hey! Where are you going?” One of the men in the back of the Jeep cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled over the wind. “There’s a hail!”

play paddleball?” “Absolutely,” said Francis. “I’m with you on that. Whales aren’t totally my thing, but I see this as a chance for a real experience. I’m trying to be spiritually open to the world.” “Right,” Livia said, not sure what he meant. “I mean, this island wouldn’t exist without sperm whales. We all hang wooden whales on our walls and wear whale pants and have whale-tail door knockers and put stainless-steel kitchens in old whaling captains’ houses, but given the chance to stand in the

with no one in them. “Don’t read that,” Winn said, peering over her shoulder. “You’ll want a new kitchen.” “I’ll risk it,” Biddy said, not looking up. “Those magazines only exist to foment discontent.” She turned a page. “Let them eat cake.” “I wonder what those Pequod folks will think when they hear about this,” he said, hoisting up his leg and turning it so she could get a good look. The caddy’s handkerchief, stiff and stained brown in spots, still bound the wound. “Talk about adding injury

front hall of the Connecticut house, waiting for Livia and Biddy to come home from getting it taken care of, and he watched out the window as the car appeared and Livia slid out of the front seat and retched into the flower beds. “But,” he said, “no major harm done? Everyone’s fine?” “Well.” She hesitated. “A guy got a shard of bone stuck in his shoulder.” “What guy?” “An island guy. An ambulance was there when we left.” He kneaded his forehead with two fingers. His headache was thriving.

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