This first novel sets a boyhood against the seasonal burst of excitement on the periphery of Coney Island's boardwalk at its clattering zenith, three decades ago. Father had ""renovated"" his house nautilus fashion, adding more and more partitions to house the stream of improbable tenants (the basement was rented as a bath house) and each member of the boy's family burrowed through his own tsouris. Blind Grandmother, the ""witch"" of the neighborhood, orated happily to a captive mongrel; pious Grandfather is outraged when the boy professes to have seen an angel at Seder; Father and Mother (guilt and beleaguered faith in humanity) have it out, explosively, periodically. The boy, searching through the adult world for confirmation of love which seems to wither, observes the dying, the defeated, old men collecting litter in an ocean of sand, wonders if the bonds of love are strong enough for communication. Although the author is apt to lose sight of the main movement--the developing sensibilities of the boy--in a series of brief self-sufficient sketches, he does manage the sounds, smells, sights and thunder of the late lamented Coney. Nostalgia, Nathan's, wet sand and weltschmerz.