A Certain Tendency of…

Anyone see Inception? Mind game storytelling seems pretty ubiquitous at this point. Every movie trailer gives you a tiny tease of anachronistic imagery, leaving you hungry for information packets to consume. Steven Hall’s “The Raw Shark Texts” is operating on a similar wavelength, even just through the title. Half way through the book, I can give you a fractured database of paramnesic information about the novel’s plot directly reflexive of the protagonist Eric’s situation. The novel feels like the internet. It’s a scattered stew of information that links together somehow, but the language has to be learned for the story to be told.

To be honest I have found the whole thing jarring. But maybe that’s the point. The diasporic nature of the plot makes the fantasy elements seem organic and keeps the reader from asking too many questions. Like a conceptual fish, I haven’t been able to see the total manifestation of the story, but that’s exactly what is keeping me reading. In the same way that the story is infatuated with technology, it participates in the lingo and database inspired logic of internet through its own storytelling modes.

I have to say I am having trouble parsing the whole thing out. Its completely enjoyable and it takes the pleasure of surfing the web but mashes it with the intensity of a thriller. The “real world” in the novel seems to be usurped by information highways and realities that exist parallel to it, yet maybe it isn’t a portrait of contemporary life as much as a representation of mental illness. Either way the story has been engrossing so far, despite its aggravating excessive use of the first person. For me the novel really is a textual manifestation of puzzle storytelling modes generated by social media and internet technologies that have broken out into other forms such as lit and the cinema.

Careful surfing the un-space friends, who knows what’s under the surface,



~ by NV on January 13, 2013.

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