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First things first, stay calm.

The Raw Shark Texts, written by Steven Hall in 2007, is a cerebral and complex novel following a man named Eric Sanderson, who wakes up one morning to discover that he does not know who or where he is. After recieving a cryptic letter, apparently from his former self (signed "The First Eric Sanderson"), he is directed to a psychiatrist who tells him he has a rare form of dissociative amnesia. Just when he's beginning to get his life back to a semblance of reality, he is attacked in his own home by - wait for it - a shark.

This, ladies and gents, is when things start to get weird.

A letter from the first Eric Sanderson reveals that the creature stalking him is a Ludovician, a conceptual shark that swims in the flows of human interaction and "eats memories and the intrinsic sense of self". The already unstable Eric is then subject to a revelation regarding human existence: the interaction between people, whether through speech or the written word or memory, is inhabited by "conceptual fish" - thought-organisms that live and swim in the vast sea of human contact. These include Behemothic Newlyns, who begin life inside the centre of a coin until they can grow large enough to swim to the black depths of fiscal potential inside every major bank; lamprey-like Luxophages, who feed off a person's ability to react quickly, ensuring that their host remains stuck in their own personal rut, and tiny thought-fry who nibble at letters and have a particular fondness for the long S. Joined by a waif-like but oddly familiar guardian and bolstered by his former self's knowledge, conceptual camoflauge and a cat called Ian, Eric begins a bizarre search to end his nightmares and escape the Ludovician once and for all.

Filled with literary illustrations, resonant characters and a plot that kicks you directly in the brain, The Raw Shark Texts is a fantastic read (especially if you're an english-geek). For those of you who have already read it, I particularly enjoyed the attack-flipbook and the instantly recognisable shark-fishing boat.

If you want an intelligent and engrossing novel with an original plot and fascinating characters, or even if you just want to read some crazy shit about imaginary sharks, buy this book. I guarantee you won't regret it.

Unless your surname is Ward: trust me, you guys don't come off well in this one at all.

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