LitPicks Book Reviews—May 2013

Theme—Class Conscious / Class Conscience
We like to think of ourselves as a "classless" society. But as this month's books show, socio-economic divisions are part of our history and still with us today.
Labels: A Lighter Touch


Seating Arrangements
Maggie Shipstead, 2012
320 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
May, 2013

How someone as young as Maggie Shipstead has managed such sure-footed prose, mature insights, and sardonic humor is beyond me. For a writer in her then-late-20s, her debut novel Seating Arrangements is a remarkable feat. It would be so for a writer at any age.

The story opens as Winn Van Meter rises before dawn to head up to the family summer home on the Island of Waskeke. His eldest daughter is to be married there in three days, and the wedding party and families are already gathering.


The Accursed
Joyce Carol Oates, 2013
688 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
May, 2013
Over the past number of years, I'd grown wary of Joyce Carol Oates—with her characters and plots bordering on the grotesque. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up The Accursed.

Well, here again are her usual grotesqueries, this time placed in a historical context, with a gothic setting, and fantasy-thriller plotline—and all of it so mesmerizing it was difficult to put the book down.

Labels: Great Works

great-works-4The House of Mirth
Edith Wharton,
274 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
May 2013
Fifteen years before her Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton already had her sights trained on New York's gilded-age society. That earlier work is The House of Mirth, a devastating portrait, far crueler and more predatory than anything in her later book.

And in Lily Bart, Wharton has given us one of literature's enduring heroines. Lily, with her remarkable beauty and innate charm, captivates readers in the same way she captivates the characters within the novel.


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