Dale's Reviews > The Raw Shark Texts

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
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's review
Nov 05, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: metafiction
Read in September, 2007

This is the seventeenth book I read on my commute, and what a wonderfully weird little book it is. I bought it for my dad for his birthday in June, based on the review of it in the Washington Post Book World; he really liked it, and so he loaned it to me in August and in September I finally got around to reading it.

At least it was an easier read than Ulysses.

The Raw Shark Texts really was wildly entertaining, for me at least. I'm pegging it as sci-fi/fantasy, although once again it's the kind that is set in our modern world and would just about be modern lit if it wasn't for all the freaky, surreal stuff that keeps happening to the protagonist, Eric. Once again I'm loathe to give away too many details because half the fun is in exploring the strange world Hall creates in the book. It's a world just out of sight of our own world, where stories and memories have much greater power than we normally think, and where frightening and insidious things can and do happen. It's an adventure story about fighting against disturbing and unnatural forces, but it's also about the struggles we face in our interior lives at the places where our intellects and our emotions tangle together.

Plus, it has some of the coolest and most playful uses of paper and ink that I've seen in a while. I don't know why more books don't do stuff like that. Plus one of the "key phrases" in the Amazon.com listing of the book is, seriously, "conceptual fish." I mean, come on!

The Raw Shark Texts is very different, it's very mind-bending, and it's very good. I hope Steven Hall writes more novels soon.

Running total for types of books read on the commute:

Classics: 1
Modern Lit: 3
Fantasy/sci-fi: 10
Non-fiction: 3
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Craig (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Craig Hey what's the story on this one?

message 2: by Dale (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dale This is a great book - I meant every one of those four stars - and I don't want to say too much about what it's about because half the fun of reading it is figuring out what's going on in the story. I will say it's kind of like the movie Memento crossed with Neil Gaiman's book Neverwhere, if that makes any sense. I will try to post a full review soon, but long story short it's definitely recommended.

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