The Raw Shark Texts
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From Publishers Weekly
Hall's debut, the darling of last year's London Book Fair, is a cerebral page-turner that pits corporeal man against metaphysical sharks that devour memory and essence, not flesh and blood. When Eric Sanderson wakes from a lengthy unconsciousness, he has no memory. A letter from "The First Eric Sanderson" directs him to psychologist Dr. Randle, who tells Eric he is afflicted with a "dissociative condition." Eric learns about his former life—specifically a glorious romance with girlfriend Clio Aames, who drowned three years earlier—and is soon on the run from the Ludovician, a "species of purely conceptual fish" that "feeds on human memories and the intrinsic sense of self." Once he hooks up with Scout, a young woman on the run from her own metaphysical predator, the two trek through a subterranean labyrinth made of telephone directories (masses of words offer protection, as do Dictaphone recordings), decode encrypted communications and encounter a series of strange characters on the way to the big-bang showdown with the beast. Though Hall's prose is flabby and the plethora of text-based sight gags don't always work (a 50-page flipbook of a swimming shark, for instance), the end result is a fast-moving cyberpunk mashup of Jaws, Memento and sappy romance that's destined for the big screen.
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"'Fast, sexy, intriguing, intelligent - The Raw Shark Texts is all these and more: a cult waiting to happen, a blockbuster begging to be made. Steven Hall is a truly fantastic storyteller. Investigate, now!' TOBY LITT"See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
A young man wakes up with total amnesia. A doctor explains to him that he's suffering from dissociative disorder, due to the loss of his beloved girlfriend Clio. The man -- Eric Sanderson -- attempts to muddle back into a life he doesn't recognize... but soon starts receiving letters and packages from "the first Eric Sanderson," warning him of something far more sinister. He tries to ignore the letters, but strange occurrances start haunting him.
The letters include items encoded with info, transcribed memories of his last days with his beloved Clio, and the revelation of what destroyed his memories -- a Ludovician, a conceptual shark existing in un-space. Now Eric -- and a strange girl who is strangely reminiscent of Clio -- try to escape the conceptual beast, and salvage what is left of his memory and life.
Lots of movies and books start off with an amnesiac seeking answers. But the story of "Raw Shark Texts" is a bit different: a postmodern horror/romance/mystery/action novel, which spins up some surreal creations, and doesn't give a tidy answer to its questions. In a way, it's a story about how the sadness and dreams of lost love can devour our minds. Yet it doesn't have to be the end -- love can be found again.
It would have been a disaster (conceptual sharks?Read more ›
a. It offers a complex journey through the human mind over time and through space;
b. It generates a certain sense of angst and suspense as the reader follows the adventures of Eric Sanderson as he attempts to recover his real self that has been stolen by some primordial force during a period of amnesia. The big question here is what is the reality or truth behind language as it helps to define who we are in an ever changing world;
c. It attempts to combine the physical world of Eric with some conceptual framework from the past that would allow us to see how we have 'evolved' through the progression of language. Lots of interesting clues and codes in this story for Eric to consider in his hunt for his true self;
d. The journey through underground Manchester is both exrtraordinary and bone-chilling;
e. Though the metaphysical realm of the good doctor comes across as a little cheesy, it still carries enough of a cerebral ring to it to cause the reader to think about his origins;
f. Lots of references to the world of the past, especially the ancient teachings of Zen that espouse the discipline of self-containment and preservation;
g. A good flow to the story as Eric lurches from one crisis to another in his search to recover his memory;
h. Characters are well developed in terms of their multi-dimensions;
i. The story is consistent in respect to what the author wants to portray: a world where reality and fantasy combine to create an almost unreal nightmarish sphere;
j. There is a certain power in this story that could cause the reader to do some reality checking himself.
However just like the actual ocean, which contains predatory creatures like sharks, killer whales, moray eels, etc. so too does the ocean of knowledge. And this where the protagonist in our story finds himself. Through his learning and formulating of ideas, he attracts the interest of a knowledge shark. And although this shark doesn't eat you per say, what it does do is consume your memory.
I realize that I'm' not doing this book justice in describing as such. Nevertheless, the book is very well written and the concepts put forth by the author are quite interesting. Someone referred to the book as being in a similar vein to The Beach, by Alex Garland. I wouldn''t go that far, but I did find the book hard too put down. Not necessarily because I believed the concepts being put forth by the author (and as a book of fiction, belief in those concepts is not really needed) but because I was interested in the characters. Would the main character keep his memory or would he be consumed by the shark. What about his accomplices? Would they survive the meetings? Etc.
In short, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading other books written by the author.
Most recent customer reviews
Many years ago we made the decision that we would force ourselves to read books outside our preferred style. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2010 by Dave and Joe
I have to admit that I had my doubts about the book. It takes a little while for the story to take off, but when it does - WOW. Read morePublished on May 3 2009 by Rhea
Steven Hall delivers an endlessly intriguing story using a well-weighted mixture of narrative, images, puzzles, letters, and what appear to be poems. Read morePublished on May 10 2008 by The Rogue Ninja
I have to say, I loved this book. Reading it was like taking a break from reality and entering into a bizarre world where fact and fantasy combine. Read morePublished on March 16 2008 by Neko
Just finished this book and I was glad to finish. Not because it was great, but just to get it over with. Read morePublished on July 14 2007 by W. Bodner
The Raw Shark Texts, is a classic judgement of a book by it's cover. As a lover/paranoid of sharks, the unique cover and first inner sleeve review made me pluck it off the... Read morePublished on June 11 2007 by T. Smith
If Mark Z. Danielewski and Haruki Murakami got together to write a romantic/mystery/horror story, it might turn out something like "Raw Shark Texts," the debut novel by Steven... Read morePublished on May 16 2007 by EA Solinas