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The Raw Shark Texts

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  13,516 Ratings  ·  1,576 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 427 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Canongate U.S. (first published January 1st 2007)
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mark monday
Oct 22, 2011 mark monday rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: Brad

You are a book, The Raw Shark Texts. You are an unstable narrative. You are a story of loss and love and memory, of a broken heart and a broken mind. You are a mystery; you are a postmodern text; you are equal parts Burroughs and Palahniuk and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You are a first novel, complete with a first novel's typical weaknesses: a certain stridency and repetitiousness that is occasionally tedious, a tendency towards wanting to amaze the audience with your brilliance,
Rick Monkey
May 16, 2008 Rick Monkey rated it it was amazing
You know what I like?

This whole genre of stuffy British dudes who find themselves unwillingly going on adventures and discovering that there's more to them than just being pasty and flustered.

And, yeah, it's a genre. There's TONS of books with that same damn plot. Thing is, they're often very entertaining.

They're also usually played for laughs. Which is not the case in The Raw Shark Texts. Yes, the protagonist eventually finds himself drawn into a world where the old rules don't apply. Yes, he h
Jun 01, 2008 Allycks rated it did not like it
A brief behind-the-scenes recap of "The Raw Shark Texts":

Steven Hall is inspired. Writes a brilliant one hundred pages of an unfinished novel. The first hundred pages of 'The Raw Shark Texts' are truly a great read, hinting at something avant-garde, something page-turning in the finest sense of the term. We're all clicking off the rusty old disbelief mechanisms because 'The Raw Shark Texts' is putting it all together. OK, sure, it is yet another "piece-my-life-back-together-after-what-would-see
Aug 15, 2011 Kinga rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(There might be very minor spoilers here but I doubt they will make any sense to you if you haven't read the book, so read on, unles you are uber-paranoid about spoilers)

“The Raw Shark Texts”. It’s supposed to be a literary psychological thriller where Jorge Luis Borges meets Danielewski meets Matrix meets Fight Club meets Jaws. I thought: Oh dear. Steve, I hope you know what you are running up against and I hope your game is tight.

The book starts with the main character waking up on the floor n
Jun 13, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For sheer ballsy creativity The Raw Shark Texts is an incendiary word bomb of conceptual fish, mad world hungry pseudo-immortals, movie geekdom, Greek tragedy and cats with mundane names.

To say there is something lacking in Steven Hall's first novel seems unfair and trite, but I can't shake the feeling that something in Eric Sanderson's relationship with Clio/Scout felt too forced and way too indoctrinated by current gender attitudes. If that was by design I can't imagine what the design was; if
Feb 24, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who said that House of Leaves changed their world view
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: random goodreads reviews
Duh Dum.
Duh Dum.
Dum dum dum dum dum dum DUM!!!!!

Ok that was a poor attempt to mimic the Jaws theme tune in text format, but hey, it's not that easy.

On Animosity Island, everyone is looking forward to the summer season. The picket fences are suitably white, the sky is picture-postcard blue and the beaches of fine yellow sand are ready to receive the beach towels and inflatable toys of hundreds of British holiday makers. For Chief Brady, head of the Animosity Island police department, there is one
Dec 18, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: general-novels
A bit oversold, but certainly creative at times with a sprinkling of novel ideas which for me, almost worked; but not quite.
At heart this is a simple love story, which I didn't mind as I quite like simple love stories, being an old romantic at heart. That the love story was between a man whose memories had been eaten by a conceptual shark (see later) and a woman who he may have loved in his pre memory loss existence who is now dead (but not a ghost - nothing supernatural here) matters not a jot.
Jan 27, 2010 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction, 2009
The Raw Shark Texts was released back in 2007 by first time U.K. author, Steven Hall. In some circles, it’s been referred to as some bizarre cross between Jaws and The Matrix with perhaps a little Da Vinci Code thrown in there for good measure. It follows the story of Eric Saunderson who awakes on his bedroom floor without any memories. While the man retains his basic motor functions, he remembers nothing resembling emotions or sense of identity. Shortly upon awaking, Eric finds a note left by t ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Jenbebookish rated it it was ok
Ugh. I struck out with this one.

This was something I'd been wanting to read for awhile. It's looked super enticing on my bookshelf and when I finally had it in my hands I was brimming with excitement. I had read the first couple pages awhile back and knew that this was the kind of book that grabbed you from the get go.

And welp! That's about the only time it grabbed me, it grabbed me then and let me go about 75 pages in. Maybe I'm just not smart enough...but the whole concept of "conceptual" shar
Jul 12, 2007 Corinne rated it did not like it
I give up. I'm nearly halfway through the book and I'm putting it down. Maybe, at another time, I'll pick it up again and feel differently but the action/adventure vibe just isn't sitting with me at all. It's like reading The Celestine Prophecy -which I did many, many moons ago- only without the big morality question leading you through to the end. Or, it's like reading Haruki Murakami without his talent for subtle storytelling. Or -sorry to go overboard on this- it's like reading House of Leave ...more
MJ Nicholls
Completely overhyped, of course, like most books draped with gushing quotes of unanimous adoration from THE CRITICS.

Nevertheless, Hall's conceptual sharks are clever, baffling and terribly original throughout. His typographical quirks are deployed to interesting and, in one instance, hilariously terrifying effect.

The writing suffers from an overuse of dramatic verbs, the stylised relationship between the hero/heroine (regardless of any ironic intentions), moments of prolonged confusion and plot
Hmm. Well. It certainly wasn't bad.

One problem with reading advanced reader's editions is that they lay out the marketing plans for you right on the inside cover, so I knew before I even started that this book has a 150,000 initial print run, that the movie rights have already been auctioned, that a website and a viral marketing campaign (puke) are in the works, etc. Soooo, hype hype hype, which always makes me worried.

All the same, like everyone says, cross House of Leaves with Memento and
Aug 20, 2007 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Invisibles fans, postmodern nerds, free thinkers
Shelves: slipstream
Mix _A Clockwork Orange_, _VALIS_, and _House of Leaves_ in a blender, and you would get something like this book. It combines a number of my favorite things, not the least of which is the unreliable narrator - and as an aside to some reviewers, if you think 'Memento' did it first, you really ought to read more and do some research. I was a little wary of the kind of 'fontplay' such as in Danielewski's book, but when Hall used it, he used it purposefully and to good effect.

Note to self: 'fontpla
Mar 02, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Hunger For Knowledge

Would you look at that, on the inside title page, a yellow post-it note saying
The bastard love-child
of The Matrix, Jaws and
The Da Vinci Code


Description: 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 dea
Bevan Audstone
Jun 06, 2008 Bevan Audstone rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holy. Crap.

I picked up The Raw Shark Texts this past weekend - not sure if I wanted to tackle something this long since I'm still trying to catch up to a good "38 in '08" pace - and I swear it was like disappearing off the face of the earth for two days. I can't remember the last time I was so absorbed in a book that I opted to postpone plans to stay home and do nothing but read, and despite my copy's 448 pages, I devoured the book in less than 24 hours - pun intended.

Without giving away more th
May 16, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
3/29/11 update:
I want to read it again. I also want Hall to write another book. Come on Steve!!

8/19/09 Update:
I found a copy of the UK version of this book in a used book store the other day and it prompted me to re-read it.
This book is so brilliant it's unbelievable. Reading it a second time brought out, in my mind anyway, what is really going on with this book. I'm truly amazed at Hall's performance here.


i was walking through b
Chad Post
I read this mainly because it's discussed in N. Katherine Hayles's "How We Think" (which I'm greatly enjoying). It probably doesn't deserve four stars--the ending is kind of crappy, and at times it feels a bit self-satisfied, a bit like a Charlie Kaufman movie--but it is a very "readerly" book.

This is a concept Kerri Pierce shared with me not too long ago. For anyone who reads tons of "difficult" or "heady" books for their job or career or whatever, you're probably already familiar with this co
May 29, 2014 Sans rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, school-stuff
Dear Book,

You're critically acclaimed and a national best seller.

You're apparently the bastard child of all the great writers and movies.

You think you're clever.

The fact of the matter is, if you weren't a required text for my class, I would have dropped your paperback ass in the recycling bin ages ago.

I'm so glad we're done now and I never have to see you again.

Aug 14, 2011 Caio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Writing this review feels bad. I'm sure Steven Hall worked lovingly on his first book. Judging by his chirpy author picture, he looks like a cool guy, and I hope he lives a long happy life and writes many great bestsellers and gets to buy a flying yacht full of hookers.

That being said, The Raw Shark Texts is terrible. It feels like a badly mixed porridge of everything the author thought was AWESOME. Let's see – the movie Jaws? AWESOME. Memento? AWESOME. House of Leaves? AWESOME. Abandoned underg
Jul 05, 2008 Donald rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Donald by: Henrik
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2007 Paula rated it really liked it
I couldn't resist picking up this book, with a lurking shark made completely out of text on the first page. I'm a big believer of judging books by covers, and once again I am proven right. The Raw Shark Texts is like several books you've read, and yet is completely different. It plays with the concept of words like "The Phantom Tollbooth," and its underground is vaguely similar to that of Gaiman's "Neverwhere." The plot starts out as "Memento," morphs into "The Matrix" and ends with "Jaws." Conf ...more
Ryan Chapman
Sep 29, 2008 Ryan Chapman rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'd pair this with Remainder by Tom McCarthy: debut novels from the UK by men taking on conceptual literary frameworks. Their work isn't influenced by film so much as engaged by the medium itself. It's certainly not for everyone. In fact, I hated Remainder for the first few months after reading. But I recognize the book--and by extension this one as well--for what is: an avant-garde novel in the 21st century.

This book isn't as finely balanced as it could be, and many of the romantic scenes ar
You know how sometimes you read a book and you just know a character is a direct stand-in for the author? Take this book, for example. I simply could not shake the feeling that the narrator--a sadsack, lonely guy pining over the loss of his great and perfect love--is pretty much the absolute alter-ego of the author: I'm picturing a sadsack, lonely guy pining over the fact that no girl has ever really talked to him.

And no wonder the narrator misses his "Clio" (yes, the muse of history, how painfu
Sep 15, 2013 Ari rated it did not like it
Area woman wildly unimpressed with White Man™ pretentious pseudo-intellectual masturbatory fantasy, complete with the Struggle of being a Man who doesn't know his Place in the world and manic pixie dream conceptual girl.
Bobby J. Hill Jr.
Jul 07, 2007 Bobby J. Hill Jr. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one. Okay, read it if you want to.
The book opens as Eric Sanderson wakes up on the floor of a bedroom he doesn't recognize. He then finds a letter from "The First Eric Sanderson" directing him to Dr. Randle, who tells him that he has recurrent dissociative episodes, or repeated and worsening periods of amnesia. As the story progresses you find out that the amnesia is caused by a conceptual shark. A ludovician. It feeds on a person's memories and, many times, gets a bit territorial. It's hunting Eric Sanderson.

For the most part,
Sep 23, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anglers, semioticians, eggheads, shark enthusiasts
If you enjoy Haruki Murakami, the films of Michel Gondry, or Jorge Luis Borges, you will want to go on this very strange fishing trip with Steven Hall. Before you leave dock, take note of the book's title-pun and be clear that there are plenty of plotlines that will be left up to your interpretation. The story involves recurring amnesia and the creature who causes it, a semiotic monster swimming through an ocean of ideas. Indeed, there is an entire ecology comprised of words, ideas, books and si ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Bogdan rated it liked it
Amintirile Rechinului” de Steven Hall este un roman fantastic construita pe franturi de imagini, si texte cu influente si trimiteri vizibile spre Casablanca, Vrajitorul din Oz, Alice in Tara minunilor, Don Quijote, Toy story, sau Hound of the Baskervilles, in acest caz inteligenta marelui detectiv Sherlock Holmes fiind cam pusa la indoiala. Mark Haddon, romancier si poet britanic a afirmat, dupa cum putem vedea pe coperta intai a romanului de fata, in mod fericit si aproape in ton cu actiunea ca ...more
Moira Burke
Mar 01, 2017 Moira Burke rated it really liked it
You think you're reading a Memento knockoff (protagonist has amnesia; something sketchy's going on), but then it takes a left turn into rather delightful conceptual limbo. It's a page-turner adventure novel with relatively strong writing, especially the thoughtplay in the meta passages. Frustratingly, the main female character is just there to be boobs. Thankfully, there's also a snarky cat to distract you from the one-dimensional-except-for-her-boobs female character. This is worth sticking thr ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Caleb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, contemporary
Trying to write a thoughtful review and one that is useful to other users for The Raw Shark Texts is difficult as it doesn't lend itself to such a task.

An equal problem I encounter are my own feelings. In truth, for me this was frequently not a book to be easily enjoyed and it is tempting to slip into a 'what-I-would-have-liked-this-book-to-be' style of reviewing. But against these difficulties I found this book to be captivating. Sure I had to put it down and leave it at times and on other occa
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Trying to fully understand the ending **Spoilers, very much so 8 93 Jul 30, 2016 12:38PM  
okay, what the heck... 9 425 Jun 06, 2013 07:12AM  
Lush Library: The Raw Shark Texts - Discussion thread may contain SPOILERS 25 48 Jan 22, 2012 12:14PM  
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Steven Hall is the author of The Raw Shark Texts and one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.

More about Steven Hall...

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“Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there's not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.” 75 likes
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