The Raw Shark Texts is a psychological thriller, a haunting love story and an epic quest laced with absurdist wit.
A man wakes in terror, choking for air, in the unfamiliar bedroom of an empty house. He has no memories and no sense of his own identity. The licence in his wallet tells him his name is Eric Sanderson.
Letters and parcels arrive in careful sequence, signed: the first Eric Sanderson. He accumulates a set of instructions for negotiating this unknown and obscurely dangerous life. He reads his own past...and there is Clio, who was loved - by him? - and who died. His dreams fill with the memory of loss.
Then the attacks begin. And now, armed with his survival manual and accompanied by a cat called Ian, Eric will set off to find out what it is that's trying to hunt him down and destroy him.
Steven Hall was born in Derbyshire in 1975. He studied Fine Art at Sheffield Hallum University. His Stories for a Phone Book appeared in New Writing 13. The Raw Shark Texts, his first novel, won the Borders Original Voices Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. Steven lives in Hull, England.
'Engrossing, delirious and perfectly wacky.' San Francisco Chronicle
'Leaves your heart pounding.' Marie Claire
'Bursts into dazzling life.' Sydney Morning Herald
'Heartfelt, lyrical, unabashedly sentimental.' Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books
'Snap this one up.' Globe and Mail
'The most original reading experience of the year.' Independent
'Gripping...intelligent and inventive.' Times Literary Supplement
Hall's debut, the darling of last year's London Book Fair, is a cerebral page-turner that pits corporeal man against metaphysical sharks that devour memory and essence, not flesh and blood. When Eric Sanderson wakes from a lengthy unconsciousness, he has no memory. A letter from "The First Eric Sanderson" directs him to psychologist Dr. Randle, who tells Eric he is afflicted with a "dissociative condition." Eric learns about his former life specifically a glorious romance with girlfriend Clio Aames, who drowned three years earlier and is soon on the run from the Ludovician, a "species of purely conceptual fish" that "feeds on human memories and the intrinsic sense of self." Once he hooks up with Scout, a young woman on the run from her own metaphysical predator, the two trek through a subterranean labyrinth made of telephone directories (masses of words offer protection, as do Dictaphone recordings), decode encrypted communications and encounter a series of strange characters on the way to the big-bang showdown with the beast. Though Hall's prose is flabby and the plethora of text-based sight gags don't always work (a 50-page flipbook of a swimming shark, for instance), the end result is a fast-moving cyberpunk mashup of Jaws, Memento and sappy romance that's destined for the big screen. 125,000 first printing; $150,000 promo.