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The Raw Shark Texts

The Raw Shark Texts

4.4 77
by Steven Hall

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Eric Sanderson wakes up in a house one day with no idea who or where he is. A note instructs him to see a Dr. Randle immediately, who informs him that he is undergoing yet another episode of acute memory loss that is a symptom of his severe dissociative disorder. Eric's been in Dr. Randle's care for two years -- since the tragic death of his great love, Clio,


Eric Sanderson wakes up in a house one day with no idea who or where he is. A note instructs him to see a Dr. Randle immediately, who informs him that he is undergoing yet another episode of acute memory loss that is a symptom of his severe dissociative disorder. Eric's been in Dr. Randle's care for two years -- since the tragic death of his great love, Clio, while the two vacationed in the Greek islands.

But there may be more to the story, or it may be a different story altogether. As Eric begins to examine letters and papers left in the house by "the first Eric Sanderson," a staggeringly different explanation for what is happening to Eric emerges, and he and the reader embark on a quest to recover the truth and escape the remorseless predatory forces that threatens to devour him.

The Raw Shark Texts is a kaleidoscopic novel about the magnitude of love and the devastating effect of losing that love. It will dazzle you, it will move you, and will leave an indelible imprint like nothing you have read in a long time.

About the Author
STEVEN HALL was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1975. He studied fine art at Sheffield Hallum University. His "Stories for a Phone Book" appeared in New Writing 13 (Picador 2005). The Raw Shark Texts is his first novel. For more information about the author, please visit: www.myspace.com/StevenHallBooks www.TheRawSharkTexts.com

Editorial Reviews

Tyler Knox
It's all a lot of fun, yet there is also a surprising emotional resonance in seeing Second Eric, like Beckett's Krapp with his tapes, reading and rereading First Eric's journals as he obsesses over the experiences that the Ludovician has chomped out of his head. And to hear Second Eric's voice take on the snap of his predecessor's is especially satisfying.
— The Washington Post
Times Literary Supplement
An avant-garde thriller in which these devil-fish of the unconscious somehow escape the symbolic realm, or rather, we join them on their side of the border. . . . Ian is a splendid character: a self-important misanthropist, invariably with 'thundery disgust and disappointment all over his big flat ginger face.' . . . The novel's great virtue is its structure. . . . Information is released in pieces, like time-release drugs in a capsule, their order derived from the progressive revelation of truths rather than the forward march of events. . . . The Raw Shark Texts unfolds not in sleek cyberspace, but inside the post-Freudian human self, with its layers, its pungent humours, its debris left over from construction, and its monsters of the deep. . . . Jaws meets Alice in Wonderland.--(Sarah Bakewell, Times Literary Supplement (London))
The book justifies the hype. . . . An innovative, postmodern, metafictional novel . .. The most original reading experience of the year . . . A literary novel that's more out there than most science fiction . . . Genuinely isn't like anything you have ever read before, and could be as big an inspiration to the next generation of writers as Auster and Murakami have been to Hall.--(Matt Thorne, Independent)
The Guardian
Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts is a psychological thriller with shades of Memento and The Matrix and the fiction of Mark Danielewski; page-turning, playful and chilling by turns, it explores the construction of identity through the adventures of an amnesiac who is guided by letters from his former self and menaced by a conceptual shark. --Justine Jordan
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, Mementoand sappy romance that's destined for the big screen. 125,000 first printing; $150,000 promo. (Apr.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Is Eric Sanderson crazy? Or is he really skidding along in another dimension of the known world, confronting a shifting identity and the loss of love? With a 125,000-copy first printing; national tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“Exhilarating.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Rousingly inventive.” –The Washington Post

“Unforgettable fiction.” –Playboy

“A thriller that will haunt you.” –GQ

“Sharp and clear…writing on the edge of the form.” –Los Angeles Times

Product Details

Canongate Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are Saying About This

Clayton Moore
"Immensely enjoyable . . . This marvelous thriller plays off the infamous Rorschach Test, then cribs concepts from Jaws, Memento, and every locked-room mystery ever conceived, blending them into a wildly infectious story. . . . [A] beguiling bastard of a novel . . . Somehow the synthesis of Hall's ideas, big and small, original and borrowed, creates a unique experience for even the most jaded readers like your humble columnist."--(Clayton Moore, Bookslut)

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The Raw Shark Texts 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
FocoProject More than 1 year ago
If you were to take the love child from a Alex Garland, David Mitchell and Mark Z. Danielewski threesome, say¿¿The Beach¿, ¿Number 9 Dream¿ and ¿House of Leaves¿ respectively, then the product of it would probably be ¿The Raw Shark Texts¿. There is no doubt that for his debut novel Hall has borrowed heavily, in my opinion mostly from Danielewski, and he has taken the elements that he appreciated from other authors and given it his own creative, ambitious twist, to make of this thriller something that is conceptually amazing, albeit abstract and difficult to approach.

If you are a fan of the clear cut story with simple to follow plots and entirely grounded themes, then I will let you know now not to come anywhere close to this book. If you however have enjoyed the work of any of the authors mentioned above or even the work of Italo Calvino (particularly ¿If On A Winter¿s Night A Tarveler¿¿) then this book is going to take you for a wild ride.

Eric Sanderson wakes up one day not knowing where he is, who he is and why he is there, having only letters sent to him by a past self with a series of instructions to try to help him determine who he is. You see, Eric suffers from a condition that began shortly after a boating accident that claimed the love of his life, which wipes out chunks of his memory, time and time again, each time erasing more and more of his former life. This is Eric Sanderson number 11. And just when it may seem that you have a handle on that, the weirdness comes, shaking things all over and making somewhat of a mess. There is the Ludovician, which threatens Eric with never making it to his 12th `rebirth¿ from amnesia, there is his run into unspace guided by pixie-ish Scout and then there is the entire last third of the book which asks you to exercise your pretend bone, one which most of us forget to use after the age of ten.

If that makes absolutely no sense, do not worry, it all does as you read the book and it does in a fashion that is fast paced and engaging. Raw Shark reads like a thriller, but requires a lot of imagination from the reader, to tell a vivid story of a man in the run not from killers, not from concrete evil, but rather conceptual evil which is the product of a mad man¿s quest for eternal life. Needless to say, while some of the readers (such as me) will eat this up with a spoon, this will also upset and frustrate the majority. Hall has tackled an inventive story and as mentioned above, ambitous, but he is still not exactly polished. Here and there his characters will falter and a few strings are left untied. For that reason, while I enjoy the work that was written here and would definitely read it again, I do not consider it as good as ¿Could Atlas¿ or ¿House of Leaves¿ which take the time to close all the small gaps and answer the important questions pertinent to the plot.

Is this an abandoned island book? For me, yes, but I will say that most people will not agree with me here. In the end, if you are up for an experimental, imagination defying read, this one is for you. If you like your books off the Oprah list, then look further down my list of reviewed books, this one is not going to be one of them. And for the record, yes, there are some books (two, actually, to be precise) I have reviewed that as it turns out, did make it to the Oprah Book Club list¿yikes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find it strange that there are no comments or reviews about this LOVE story. haha. What I mean to say is that this book is one of the greatest and most tragic love stories I've ever read. Maybe it's lacking on the romance as far as most love stories go. However, it still is a testament to the bond that is shared and the devastation caused when you lose that bond(in this case because of death). I absolutely loved this book. Not your typical thriller, not your typical love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my Top Ten. Hall has an interesting style of writing that distinguishes him from the crowd. A thought provoking page turner. I have read this multiple times and find something new within each time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me at the back cover. It was a thrill ride from begining to end. It was definitely odd, but amazing!
A_Taggert More than 1 year ago
This is not a book for the atypical mindset. Approach it differently. Be as a much of a blank slate as the main character starts out as, a man with amnesia and no sense of who he is and ready to embrace everything he doesn't know, and you'll find yourself embracing the fantastical and loving it.
Aaron Clark More than 1 year ago
I write this review now from the screen of my Nook -- that's right I have forgone getting up from my bedly comforts and forsaken all keyboards to write a review. Chances are if you're colored intrigued by the headline alone then you should read this book. However, if you've never read either ofthose authors let me provide this: read this book. Seemingly innocuous at first, you soon will be unable to escape this lovely literary oddity as you crush through the pages seeking answers. One of the few works of fiction I have thoroughly enjoyed in a long time.
Murph 6 months ago
Just, wow. Lost in a work of literary art. Cannot put it down.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Read this book. You will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is spectacular. It's the only book I reread
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