The Raw Shark Texts - Steven Hall 10.

You are a book, The Raw Shark Texts. You are an unstable narrative. You are a story of loss and love and memory, of a broken heart and a broken mind. You are a mystery; you are a postmodern text; you are equal parts Burroughs and Palahniuk and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You are a first novel, complete with a first novel's typical weaknesses: a certain stridency and repetitiousness that is occasionally tedious, a tendency towards wanting to amaze the audience with your brilliance, characters and dialogue that are intended to be cheeky & real but often come across as precious & cutesy-poo. You are overlong. Still, your ambition is pleasing. Your level of writing ability is impressive. There is a mad genius to it. You exist on multiple levels. You excited me, then bored me, then excited me anew. You made me think on many things: new ideas and old, what is a person, what is an emotion, what makes a concept real. You are a book that this reviewer rather Liked. well, in a 3-star sort of way.

9.

You are the protagonist. You have no name, no memory, no life. You have a dissociative disorder, you suffer from psychotropic fugue. You have a cat named Ian and a house bereft of clues. You wake up in this empty house and follow the instructions that your former self has left for you. You see your psychiatrist, who tells you little besides platitudes. You begin to receive letters and packages from your former self, clues to your mystery, a path to follow. You have an enemy:

8.

You are the Ludovician shark. You are a conceptual predator. You devour memories whole; you leave your victims emptied out, you take what is them and you eat it. You will follow your prey anywhere.

7.

You are Mark Richardson. You are the assumed identity of a man who does not know himself. You are on a journey through un-space, those places built and then left by man, those empty spaces. You must find Dr. Fidorous, your uncertain ally. You encounter Mr. Nobody, a hollow vessel. You are rescued by a girl:

6.

You are Scout. Or are you? You have lived in un-space for so many years. Are you a figment of imagination, a hope, a resurrection of a dead girlfriend? It matters not; you are on the run. You rescue Mark Richardson, but you have your own motives and agenda. You must destroy your own enemy:

5.

You are Mycroft Ward. You are old and rich, an industrialist, a man who wants to live forever. You come up with a plan: duplicate your brain patterns, imprint them on another. You succeed. You do it again. You succeed again. There becomes more and more of you; few whom you target are able to escape - the girl Scout is one of them. You search for her as you multiply. You multiply. You multiply. You are legion.

4.

You are a conceptual shark boat named The Orpheus. You are made by Dr. Fidorous to kill a mind shark and to destroy a multiple man. You are composed of planks of wood, boxes, 80s computers, plastic barrels, cardboard, stepladders, an office chair, coat hangers, a desk fan. You are transformed; you become real. The hunt is on.

3.

You are Eric Sanderson. Your girlfriend - the love of your life - has died on a trip to Greece. You blame yourself. You empty your mind; you become nothing, a living un-space. You are not to blame, Eric. You must free yourself. You die; you are reborn.


______

2.

" - the view becomes the reflection, and the reflection, the view."

1.

You are a cat. Your name is Ian. You are in dire need of attitude adjustment. You are carried in your cat carrier on a bleak journey, a grey adventure, by Mark Richardson and the woman known as Scout. You are last seen in a distant swell, in a bobbing yellow dinghy, forlorn, alone... to be rescued? Perhaps. Hopefully. You are my favorite part of the novel.