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Download Seating Arrangements Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,490 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Maggie Shipstead Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.

Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beneath the surface of this summery romp lie animosities, well-paced sexual suspense, and a clash between appearances and authenticity…Waltzlike.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Shipstead’s weave of wit and observation continually delights. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday she trades her Lilly Pulitzer for something from Joseph Pulitzer.”

    Washington Post

  • Seating Arrangements delightfully and poignantly upends the WASP idyll…Sparkles while it slays.”

    USA Today

  • “Whipsmart and engaging.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A wickedly clever tragicomedy of manners that unfolds with the plotting of a juicy mystery and the sharp eye of someone only too aware of the subtle, seemingly pointless class distinctions within the one percent.”


  • “Shipstead seems at home in the Waspy milieu of private schools and their preening, privileged attendees…A keen-eyed rendering of America’s self-invented caste.”

    New Yorker

  • “This is one of those rare debut novels that neither forsakes plot for language nor language for plot. It is gratifying on every scale.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Dead-on delightful…A champagne-fueled, saltwater-scented comedy of upper-crust New England manners and mores.”

    National Geographic Traveler

  • “A wise, sophisticated and funny novel about family, fidelity, class, and crisis.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Elegant, delightful…Shipstead’s sentences simmer and crackle on the page.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “[A] mordant, ferociously clever comedy of manners.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Delightful…Seating Arrangements brims with sharp observations about love, lust, family, and the real meaning of marital bliss.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Zestful yet acerbic…For all its madcap quirkiness, Shipstead’s adroit escapade artfully delivers a poignant reflection on the enduring if frustrating nature of love, hope, and family.”


  • Winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Finalist
  • Selected for the June 2012 Indie Next List
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book
  • A Barnes & Noble Recommends Selection

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/7/2014

    " They don't call these people the Chosen Frozen for nothing. The setting is a more or less contemporary W.A.S.P. wedding at the bride's family's summer house on a Martha's Vinyardy island. The kids attended daddy's prep school and are immediately comfortable in daddy's and grandfather's ivy universities and clubs. (Not that they'd ever refer to the rents as "Daddy.") In fact the setting was so familiar to me from my '60s and '70s summers on the Cape that it wasn't until I realized that none of the women were wearing Pappagallo flats and one of the wedding guests was fiddling with her iphone that I was sure the main thread of the story was not a flashback. Of course, these people aren't quite what they seem either. The understated, ever so slightly shabby old home is not the ancestral cottage, and there's a whole lot of striving--sexual and otherwise--underneath the studied causualness. Recommended as a social satire for beach readers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sarah | 1/26/2014

    " This is an excellent depiction of a Waspy summer wedding, lots of familial conflict and character study. I enjoyed it... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Vanessa | 1/26/2014

    " Ehhh. Not sure what all the hype was about. The book often didn't read like satire. At times I felt like the author really believed in her asinine characters. I found myself rolling my eyes as I read further. I continued reading because I was always hoping for more but the story never got any deeper just more & more inane. To those who compared the book to The Corrections - not even close. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Cathy | 1/19/2014

    " Love this three-day drama of two families gathering for a wedding and the drama and humor that ensues. "

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