Friday, April 11, 2008

Reading Steven Hall

I finally finished reading The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. I recommend it. Our hero, Eric Sanderson, wakes up with no memory of who or where he is. He finds a letter that contains an address of a psychologist and a set of car keys. The letter is from "The First Eric Sanderson." Through a series of letters from his first self, Eric discovers that he is being hunted by a "conceptual fish," a shark that lives in the waters of collected "human knowledge" and feeds memories.

While some of the concepts in this book require a little flexibility of mind from the reader, Hall has not created an overly complex storyline or included too many details to keep track of. I found the love story a little forced and the dialogue seemed stilted at times. As The Elegant Variation noted in his review for the Philly Inquirer, "[Hall] is a clever writer, but one is left wishing he'd given his prose and character the same level of attention he gives the conceptual ebb and flow of things." Well said, Mark!

This book has also generated a fairly significant web following, including a wiki and several YouTube videos. The book's official website is pretty good. Hall was even interviewed on NPR. The film rights to the book have been optioned by Film Four in association with Blueprint Pictures and PathÉ in the UK. So keep an eye out for the movie. If it's done well, it should be great.

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