Chad Post's Reviews > The Raw Shark Texts

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

liked it
Read from June 14 to 15, 2012

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 concept. "Readerly" books are those books that are fun to read, that are smart without being overly cerebral, that are good, but not stylistically sophisticated, that are a sort of break from the high-minded stuff, but aren't exactly popcorn.

So yeah, The Raw Shark Texts is one of those books for me. It's got the high concept of something like Tom McCarthy's Remainder, but the execution is less rigorous. (And the ending is fairly disappointing.) The idea of a conceptual shark relentlessly pursuing a damaged man and destroying his memories is a great set-up, but I have to say that after this idea is laid out, it doesn't really progress that much, which is kind of unfortunate, but is what it is.

Anyway, I'd give this a 6.8-7.2 if GoodReads worked on a 10 point scale. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars . . . And worth reading for the smart entertainment value.
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