Karen Valby
April 20, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Body Surfing

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anita Shreve
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

Fans of past Anita Shreve novels like The Pilot’s Wife will recognize the enviable oceanfront New Hampshire cottage housing her new drama, Body Surfing. Poor Sydney, a 29-year-old divorcée and widow, retreats there one summer to tutor the 18-year-old daughter of the fractured Edwards family. Soon, the girl’s older brothers show up and compete for Sydney’s bruised heart. At her best, Shreve writes crisp, evocative sentences that can pierce like shards of fine glass: ”Coats were dispensed with, Mrs. Edwards letting Sydney’s slide off its hanger onto the closet floor.” But Sydney remains a cipher, and the brothers’ tense relationship goes frustratingly unexplored.

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