I almost don’t want to review this book here as when I picked it up from the library I really had no idea what I was in for, and discovering it along the way was a heck of a ride. But I also want people to read it. Tough one!
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall was his debut, published in 2007, he hasn’t published anything since.
It is literary fiction, speculative fiction, kinda science fiction – it’s a complicate, unique and rich read.
It starts with the protagonist awakening – yes I know you should never start a story with waking or the weather but this is fantastic, you truly believe he has surfaced from a near drowning and is gasping for breath on his living room floor. He has absolutely no memory of who he is and finds a note.
Intriguing right? What follows is an amazingly complex dive into an alternate view of the world we live in, or is it into the psyche of a disturbed mind?
I found this novel through a recommendation in comments on a blog post suggesting novels to introduce people to science fiction reading, so picked it up not really knowing much about it. Flicking through the pages though you find pages like these:
and it’s not a gimmick, it’s an intrinsic part of the story. While I found the technology of the story a little hard to understand at times, the story itself was fantastic.
This is a novel that will stay with me for quite some time. I don’t immediately want to pick it up and reread it but I found it difficult to part with and return to the library.
My writing tutor, the fantastic Toni Jordan, told me that she had huge bookshelves installed in her loft conversion, so huge she thought she’d never fill them. Two years later she is going through her books and choosing what she really has to keep – this, she said, is unequivocally on her keep pile.
I’d recommend this book, yes, I don’t want to tell you much more about what it is about, I want you to discover it as I did.
Has anyone read it? Love to hear your thoughts – I think if I ever do reread it I’ll get a much greater appreciation of some of the explanations but I appreciated reading it with some confusion as Eric Sanderson (the protagonist) had.