seating arrangements

A Novel


A New York Times Bestseller Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction


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 and salt air, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust stir beneath the surface. Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is not having a good time. Baffled and preoccupied by his exclusion from an island social club, he’s also tormented by a crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid, Agatha, and by 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.

“Maggie Shipstead is an outrageously gifted writer, and her assured first novel, Seating Arrangements, is by turns hilarious and deeply moving.” —Richard Russo

“The novel I’ve been recommending this summer to anyone, female or male, who’s looking for the trifecta—a good story that’s beautifully written and both hilarious and humane.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR

“Seating Arrangements delightfully and poignantly upends the WASP idyll….Sparkles while it slays.” —USA Today

“Beneath the surface of this summery romp lie animosities, well-paced sexual suspense and a clash between appearances and authenticity.” —The New York Times Book Review

"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.”—Slate

“A keen-eyed rendering of America’s self-invented caste.”—The New Yorker