By Suzanne Ruta
June 05, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Odd Sea

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  • Book
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The Odd Sea, a deft fictional debut is a portrait of the artist as an ordinary small-town kid. Narrator Philip Shumway is 13 when his older brother, Ethan, a musical prodigy, vanishes. Grief and longing send the Shumways, a family of quiet underachievers from the Massachusetts Hilltowns, on an odyssey (or ”odd sea” as the baby of the family calls it) of self-discovery. Reiken delineates the family dynamic in pithy, poignant scenes that keep you turning pages, but once Philip comes of age, the spare New England parable bogs down in self-conscious talk about art and life. Philip becomes a writer; poor Ethan remains just a literary symbol. B

The Odd Sea

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