The “Second” Eric Sanderson turns a page.

Nick Velonis turns a page. Two pages turn by mistake, and then one is turned back making a slightly different sound from all the previous turnings of pages.

The story was engaging. It was fun…I want to be cynical about Raw Shark real bad but that would be easy, so maybe it’s better to talk about memes and sharks and internet attention spans. That’s my opener. It’s lower-case honest and that is that. I’m refreshing my brain and I am going to say something patient and hopefully insightful. 

Raw Shark functions as a really interesting thriller that weaves in lots of diasporic, database types of logic. This isn’t the first story to tackle it and it won’t be the last. Our brains are being trained daily to navigate by keyword/tag instead of by following continuitous (not a valid Scrabble word) linear narratives. Regardless, this story exists only in tension with traditional storytelling paradigms; three act structures and archetypal blah blah blah and not outside it. But can anything?

The novel is a super cool, stylish story that brings to the foreground a bunch of tricky things that are taking place as a result of contemporary changes in communication and for those that don’t notice them or don’t care, there is also a nice poppy neo-noirish love story. I’m nervous to say anything else about the book. It is purposefully unself-conscious to the benefit of the latter type of reader previously described. By the end, the book fulfills most of what it promises and maintains some of its mystique. This is doubled by the endless un-material that exists in tandem to the book as well as the fact that it has jumped the stage into a real life scavenger hunt with Internet cronies to show for it.

But maybe this strikingly commercial element is the reason for my real hesitation and why I am finding the book slightly problematic. A certain review describes the book as avant-garde. This feels really generous. The structural elements are sophisticated and really could point to something provocative, but in the end it’s a thriller that happens to have a wonderful shell. I’m clearly not staying to true to my attempts at patience or insight. Rewind. The story is thoughtful. The novel provides an excellent hybrid of curious experiments and an inviting narrative and when these two are packaged together, it provides compelling entertainment. The structure has something more interesting to say than the story itself however. I think a second read might provide some distance from the entertaining side of the novel and allow for better dissection of the way it navigates contemporary forms of communication. My first read was all consumption. Maybe that is on me.

This whole thing has me feeling a little schizophrenic.

Every story has an unstory.


~ by NV on January 26, 2013.

2 Responses to “The “Second” Eric Sanderson turns a page.”

  1. I agree with your sentiment; I found a disconnect between the actual story and its presentation as well.

  2. Nick plays well with the style of the book.

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