Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Raw Shark Texts

Title: The Raw Shark Texts
Author: Steven Hall
Canongate, 2007

Eric Sanderson has a harsh awakening one morning when he realises that he has lost all memory and doesn't even know his own name. Fortunately, his prior, more lucid and fore-sighted self has provided him with guidance, such as letters, notes and parcels. Sanderson's loss of recollection, however, is not a problem in itself. The real horror is the conceptual, predatory shark feeding on his memory!

When I purchased this book in the store, it had a sign next to it saying: "a cult waiting to happen." Well, I think I'm ready to at least sing a song or two and dance around under a full moon. Or something. Paul Auster as well as Haruki Murakami are mentioned in the story, and it is clear that these authors have influenced Hall. Auster and Murakami can be quite pretentious though. Form and construction winning out over the ripping plot every day of the week (almost.) The Raw Shark Texts is more fun, more fast-paced and more unconstrained. This also means that the novel is more uneven than the other two gentlemen's stories usually are. For instance, Hall insists on trying to depict Great Love and doesn't quite make it. I will overlook it this one time though because he also has an amazingly funny, spot-on characterization of a cat - Ian, that is not to be missed!

We'll see if there will be a cult; but there should at least be a bit of bruhaha to celebrate this daredevil of a first novel.

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