Frederick Reiken







Foreign Editions






The Odd Sea


Reiken’s debut novel is both a coming of age story and a philosophical inquiry into the uniquely human problem of absence.

It begins on a sunny, late-spring morning when sixteen-year-old Ethan Shumway walks down his driveway, turns the bend, and vanishes without a trace. A gifted athlete and musician, he leaves a wake of family and friends desperately searching for him and trying to make sense of what has happened. It is through the eyes of Philip, Ethan's younger brother, that the story of "The Odd Sea" unfolds. Set in the rural hilltown landscape of western Massachusetts, Philip chronicles the five years following Ethan’s disappearance. He is smart, funny, emotionally wise, yet somewhat lost as he grapples with what his family calls the Odd Sea -- the unfathomable place where people and things go when they disappear.


Praise for The Odd Sea

“A haunting first novel that takes a horrifying family calamity and turns it into a form of magic...The mixture of the grisly and the metaphysical that Mr. Reiken works so effectively leaves you spellbound until the very last page.”

- The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

“An extraordinarily good first novel... the story has a dark dreamlike quality and author Reiken tells it with no melodrama nor any word out of place.”

- Time

“Reiken is a smoothly seductive storyteller. He has a talent for telling but not telling, for revealing only enough to whet our appetite.”

 - Newsday

“A sensitive first novel...characters of genuine emotional complexity.”

- The Boston Globe

“Reiken has the gift of creating characters whose lives seem to go on even after we have read the last page of the novel.”

- The Christian Science Monitor

“Reiken’s poignant, pithy scenes keep you turning pages.”

- Entertainment Weekly

“Skillful and much more than promising...Mr. Reiken’s novel can be considered a coming-of-age story, but it is unusually interesting, because his adolescent narrator is much less self-absorbed than most of his kind.”

- The Atlantic Monthly

“A beautiful, unsentimental work.”

- Kirkus (starred review)

“What raises The Odd Sea above the ordinary is not only the quality of the storytelling and the characterization, but also Reiken’s delicate yet ultimately quite powerful use of Ethan’s disappearance as a metaphor for the slippery, elusive nature of life itself.”

- Tampa Bay Times

"...eloquently reminds us that the unfathomable can indeed happen, that the unbearable must be bravely withstood.”

- The New York Times Book Review

“A powerful debut novel.”

- People

“This remarkable first novel has the sharp emotional focus of a finely tuned short story... Like the Massachusetts hills into which Ethan disappears, this book is seductive yet forbidding.”

- The Los Angeles Times

“The narrator’s father, too, has a gift for words. As he raises his first timber-frame house, he muses, 'Like this small house we must stand vertical to this earth. Despite gravity and all of our pain, we rise.' So does this book.”

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“One of the most mature first novels I have ever read.”

- The Vermont Times



Buy The Odd Sea from:


Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

Amazon UK

Collins Booksellers, Australia


Books by Frederick Reiken

Day for Night

The Lost Legends of New Jersey

The Odd Sea



Day for Night ·  The Lost Legends of New Jersey ·  The Odd Sea

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