The Raw Shark Texts
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The Raw Shark Texts

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  10,064 ratings  ·  1,298 reviews
Eric Sanderson wakes up in a place he doesn't recognise, unable to remember who he is. All he has left are journal entries recalling Clio, a perfect love now gone. So begins a thrilling adventure that will send Eric and his cynical cat Ian on a search for the Ludovician, the force that is threatening his life, and Dr Trey Fidorus, the only man who knows its secrets.
Kindle Edition, 430 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by Canongate Books (first published 2007)
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mark monday
Dec 15, 2011 mark monday rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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,...more
Rick Monkey
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...more
(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...more
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...more
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....more
May 06, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Oct 04, 2007 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Bevan Audstone
Jun 29, 2008 Bevan Audstone rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 y...more
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...more
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...more
Jul 13, 2008 Donald rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Donald by: Henrik
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Ryan Chapman
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...more
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
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...more
Bobby J. Hill Jr.
Jul 11, 2007 Bobby J. Hill Jr. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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,...more
Julie Mestdagh
Ik kocht dit boek bij uitgave in 2007 en had het sindsdien - ja, al 7 jaar - in mijn "to read" stapel liggen. Telkens opnieuw greep ik naar het boek, om het telkens opnieuw weer neer te leggen "voor later". Alsof ik ergens onbewust wist dat dit geen gewoon boek was; dat dit boek enige maturiteit vereist; enige visie op het leven. Niet dat ik beweer dit nu als 35-jarige allemaal plots te hebben, integendeel, maar in ieder geval heb ik er nu toch al meer van dan toen ik 28 was. En dus werd het tij...more
Laura Nash
Oct 04, 2008 Laura Nash rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thriller readers looking for heft (also library users)
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2008 Steve rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2010 Jeremy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Apparently NOT die hard fans of Jaws
Recommended to Jeremy by: Logan
My 5 star rating is my first reaction to the read. I liked it so much that I wasn't really looking for holes in the story or "blatant rip-offs" of other pieces of work. Now I come back and read some negative reviews I start to think to myself, "am I just a sucker for books that try to screw with your mind?" That is a question I can't answer because I could not possibly be that objective about myself. I can tell you this: I loved the movies Fight Club, Memento and MOST recently Hangover. I enjoy...more
Kelsey Sherman
This book gets off on a wrong-foot for me. First you have to get into the swing of processing terribly overused, hyphenated non-words. I'm all for creativity and thinking outside the box and once in while throwing a couple of words together to describe a unique move or sound is nice. However, for the first half of this book, it seems as if there are two of these mashed up words/phrases a sentence and it becomes rather ponderous and frustrating to focus on what is going on. Over all, the first ha...more
Dr. Ben
Solid House of Leaves-ian psycho-thriller-romance-thing that plays with a lot of neat ideas regarding thoughts and reality. More accessible than HoL, but it feels a bit thinner, too. Still, I really enjoyed it, despite the ending being a little hollow-feeling to me, and think it's worthwhile. I'm kinda sleepy and can't think of much more to say. XD
Mai Ling
Mar 13, 2008 Mai Ling rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: William Gibson fans
I am so glad this book's description gives away absolutely nothing about it's plot. And I won't either, except to say that it's one part William Gibson, one part male romance (i.e. Stephen Hunter) and one part "Jaws." Kind of. This lost man's search for his identity is brilliant, extremely creative and even romantic.
Benita Applejacks
This book was disappointing. The plot is really quite imaginative, original and unique which is why the totally unoriginal love story at its center sunk it for me. It would seem an author that could craft such an odd, well thought out story could also craft a believable female protagonist but alas, the refusal of our society to recognize women as whole beings wins again. Not that the male protagonist is so entirely whole himself, but he also doesn't exist as an object to be attained, worshiped o...more
Chris Limb
A man wakes up at home having lost his memory. This alone would make a fascinating story but the notes he starts receiving from his earlier self in between visits to the psychiatrist imply that he is dealing with something more than a dissociative fugue and an unexpected experience in his living room one night results in the start of his quest for answers…

This is an astonishing book. The concepts of un-space as well as the conceptual ocean and its inhabitants are truly original and the experimen...more
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Trying to fully understand the ending **Spoilers, very much so 5 21 Jun 17, 2014 07:01AM  
okay, what the heck... 9 261 Jun 06, 2013 07:12AM  
Lush Library: The Raw Shark Texts - Discussion thread may contain SPOILERS 25 36 Jan 22, 2012 12:14PM  
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Steven Hall was born in 1975. After completing a fine arts degree, he became one of the founding members of Manchester's Wet Nana and has produced a number of plays, music videos, conceptual art pieces and short stories. He lives in Hull.

If you want to know more about Steven and his work or to ask him a question, you can go directly to his forums by clicking [here].

More about Steven Hall...
Doctor Who: A Death in the Family (Big Finish Audio Drama, #140) Sleep! Rapid Hypnosis Exposed - How to hypnotise people in seconds Black Watch How to Hypnotize ACP International Relations

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