Shark Heart

Shark Heart
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books
Publication Year: 2023
ISBN: 9781668006498

Soon after Lewis and Wren are married, they get the devastating news: Lewis is slowly transforming into a great white shark. This is the absurd premise of a surprisingly lovely book about marriage, memories, grief, and finding meaning when life throws curveballs. We first see Lewis’s transition from human to shark, and among this, slowly gather bits of each of their pasts and how they came together. Wren’s story comes into sharper focus as the story shifts to her mother, pregnant with Wren as a teen by an abusive boyfriend.

This book sounds like an experiment that couldn’t possibly work, but it does–and I marvel at the creativity that brought the author to it. It’s shockingly easy to suspend disbelief here; the transition to other creatures is a fact of this world, and the important thing is pondering the repercussions, the love in the face of loss, and the moving on. You’ll think about this one long after you’ve finished reading it.

About the Book

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Publisher’s Description

For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams.

At first, Wren internally resists her husband’s fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis changes? Then, a glimpse of Lewis’s developing carnivorous nature activates long-repressed memories for Wren, whose story vacillates between her childhood living on a houseboat in Oklahoma, her time with a college ex-girlfriend, and her unusual friendship with a woman pregnant with twin birds. Woven throughout this bold novel is the story of Wren’s mother, Angela, who becomes pregnant with Wren at fifteen in an abusive relationship amidst her parents’ crumbling marriage. In the present, all of Wren’s grief eventually collides, and she is forced to make an impossible choice.

A sweeping love story that is at once lyrical and funny, airy and visceral, Shark Heart is an unforgettable, gorgeous novel about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This daring debut marks the arrival of a wildly talented new writer abounding with originality, humor, and heart.

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