Andrew's Reviews > The Odd Sea

The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken
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Feb 23, 09

Read in February, 2009

The Odd Sea is the story of a young boy named Ethan who vanishes from a small western Massachusetts town. That's how it starts, anyway.

Despite the cliche of 'lost kid story' and the blatant reference to the Odyssey, cracking the first few pages pretty much means commitment to reading the entire work in one or two sittings. The story is addictive, both for its maintained tensions and its ability to create meaningful relationships amongst characters. Most of these tensions and relationships are focused around Ethan's brother.

Ethan's brother is cast as the story's narrator. He searches his own life for traces of his brother. This develops into a haunting feeling that Ethan may have left more than just a hole in his family. With his disappearance, it seems there is a hole in the world.

The clarity and beauty of the writing only embellishes a well told story further. The voice of the narrator is dead on and the description remains centered. The wrong turn this story could have taken into melodrama-land is expertly avoided by talking about more than just a kid who disappears. Issues on maturity, person darkness, loss and the approach to art are all well addressed.

At the least, the story is a good drama-suspense. At the most, its a dissertation on absence and Nothing. It also avoids the pitfalls of a genre rife with absolute trash.

There are a few flaws. You might really need to squint but one or two plot holes crop up. The book's tension does droop a bit in the middle, partially due to recurring events centered around Ethan's mother. Luckily this stops just short of getting annoying. The concluding chapter also changes in pace. While it doesn't seem hastily written, it can shake the reader a bit. Still, these flaws are minor and really didn't hurt my experience much.

This one gets a four. High marks!

Read it.

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