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The Raw Shark Texts

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Non-Fiction (March 7 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1554681499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554681495
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
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Product Description

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"'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"

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 11 2007
Format: Paperback
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 Hall. While the initial handling of some concepts is a bit clumsy (unspace?), the vivid writing and clever twists come together nicely. It's weird, stark and bittersweet.

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?
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Format: Paperback
This is a novel that will cause even the most skeptical of us to pause and consider who we really are in the realm of time. Here are ten reasons why this book is a must read for all who like psychological thrillers with a twist:
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not quite sure what to make of The Shark Texts. The premise of the novel is interesting enough. In essence, the plot put forward by the author is knowledge is like an ocean. All of the information is out there, just floating in the ether, waiting for someone to start pulling that knowledge and forming it in to something legible and usable.

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.
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