I started reading Maggie Shipstead’s, “Seating Arrangments” when it came out this summer. I left my copy back in NM when I returned home for a family vacation on the Cape. My mother decided to buy it and I thought she would read ten pages a day, leave it laying around the house where I could steal it away for a couple days, and finish it. But I was so into “The Time in Between” (my fav novel of the summer) that I never did finish Miss Shipstead’s delicious tale. In the middle of December madness and after a day of holiday retail all I want to do is soak in a tub and read something fun. I decided to pick up my summer read right where I left it. And Miss Shipstead’s impressive first novel was just as fabulous as I had remembered. Here’s a salacious little taste of “Seating Arrangements”
“How did you guys leave things?” Dominique asked.
“I don’t know,” Livia said. “Ambiguously. Once it was light enough we walked back to the house, which took forever because I got us lost in the fog – we didn’t really talk – and then he kissed me on the cheek and got in the Jeep to wait for Greyson. And that was it. Thank God he didn’t come to the beach. I don’t think I could handle interacting with him right now in front of all these people.” She groaned and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes, but Dominique had the impression that, she was peacocking a little bit, proud of her boldness, her seduction of a man who was older and not Teddy. She kept touching her concave belly where her sweatshirt was riding up and crossing and uncrossing her knees like someone who had just rediscovered her own skin. Members of wedding parties, Dominique thought, were almost contractually obligated to sneak off to kiss and grope one another. The union of groomsman and bridesmaid was a symbolic consummation, a rain dance, a pagan rite fueled by proximity to love and optimism and free booze.