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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’s turning into a great white shark, and has less than a year left to live as a human. At first, Wren resists her husband’s fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis fully transforms?

‘Every page bursts with heart’ Anthony Doerr, author of All The Light We Cannot See

But as Lewis changes, day by day, Wren begins to make peace with the inevitable. After all, this isn’t the first time she’s lost a loved one.

An extraordinary novel of love, loss, hope and happiness, Shark Heart explores the shapes that love takes, in all its many forms, and asks us to ask ourselves: what makes us human?


Claire North, author of ITHACA
Compelling, moving, lyrical
Mary Louise Parker, author of DEAR MR. YOU
In Shark Heart, Emily Habeck doesn't shy away from the agony of goodbyes, or the torture that can accompany unexpected freedom. With an otherworldly tenderness, she reminds us that life will always demand that we give over to its momentum and adapt. The fact that these lessons are thrilling, hilarious, and effortless to read are the miracle of the book. I suspect I will ponder this book over and over; so rich with fantasy yet as frank and real as anything I've ever read
Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE
Shark Heart is a fantastical, original, and beautifully-written novel of abandonment, love, and Ovidian transformation. It explores illness, caretaking, devotion, magical thinking, and loss - and of course great white sharks - in ways that are funny, sad, and surprising. Every page bursts with heart
Marianne Gordon, author of THE GILDED CROWN
Shark Heart is one of those rare books that reaches right into you and reflects lived experience so exactly, and so poetically, that it feels like you're being seen. It wears its heart openly and unapologetically on its sleeve. Equal parts tenderly comedic and tragic, the book was a difficult one to read, but I'm so glad I did
Adam Roberts, author of STONE
A beautifully written, heart-wringing story about love and change, about moving forward - as a shark always must - and what is lost and what is gained as we do so. Habeck has an extraordinary command of her writerly instrument, crafting sentence after sentence that feel effortless and yet are eloquent and penetrating and superb. This is the highlight of my reading-year
Nils Shukla, Fantasy Hive
A stunning debut which grabs you with its unique style, holds you within its vulnerability and leaves you with a bittersweet aching. This is not just a story of love, it's a story of goodbyes . . . Habeck delivers an innovative and inspirational story that emotionally captures its readers until the end
Bobby Palmer, author of ISAAC AND THE EGG
I loved Shark Heart with my whole heart. It's laugh-out-loud funny, yet cry-your-eyes-out profound. I don't use this word often, but it's genuinely a masterpiece
The Times
Beautifully written in short, sharp chapters, this is a quirky, brilliant and powerful love story
Daily Mail
Shark Heart is very much a novel rooted in everyday concerns such as love, loss and grief, with Lewis's animal transformation a metaphor for all sorts of necessary life changes
SciFi Now
Habek's writing displays a deft blend of humour, lyricism, and unfiltered emotion, creating an unforgettable story that delves into the profound questions that life presents, especially in the midst of grief
This quirky and experimental story about life and love is unlike anything you've ever read before
SciFi Now
Habek's debut marks the arrival of a fresh and talented writer, teaching us to embrace the impossible, seize fleeting moments of joy, and find solace in the embrace of life's unpredictable journey
The Times
An extraordinary tale . . . This year's most beguilingly strange love story
Despite the magical realism, at its core, Shark Heart is a book about loss and inevitable change in life. It will make you cry, but also leave you feeling hopeful as it explores the joy found after grief
Bobby Palmer, author of ISAAC AND THE EGG
This is one of the best things I've read in years . . . I just want everyone in the world to read it
The Guardian
Absorbing and affecting
The Debut Digest
A stunningly-written, multi-layered, unique novel
New York Times Book Review
Beguiling . . . Habeck's setup allows her to grapple with big questions . . . [and] imbues the smallest interactions and moments with poetic weight . . . Surprising and pleasurably uncategorizable. Shark Heart is wild, in every sense of the word
It's quite a feat to weave such a wild speculative element into a story that feels fundamentally relatable, resonant, human. Yes, Shark Heart is the kind of delightfully original story I adore, and the sort of book I'll be pressing into the hands of friends with a vigorous nod. Yes, it actually works.
New York Post
Without a doubt, Shark Heart by Emily Habeck is one of the most unique and beautifully written books I've read. It's quite an emotional ride and, truly, would never have thought an unorthodox novel about a human man transforming into a shark would be moving but the words and overall storyline infused with love, grief and loss will hit you deeply
Surprisingly moving, oddly heartwarming, and deeply contemplative
Kirkus Reviews
A bit Shakespeare, a bit Kafka, and a bit Disney . . . [this] debut stands out from the pack
A sweet and heartbreaking tale highlighting the hiccups of marriage, motherhood, and grief
Washington Post
A highly original, heart-rending story about abiding love that transcends trauma, grief-and even metamorphosis
A tender story about the endurance of a married couple's love . . . Vulnerable and devastating
Southern Review of Books
Raw, powerful, and delightfully unusual . . . structurally and lyrically daring, so much so that its pages quickly envelop readers in its emotional challenges and magic . . . While it begs readers to contemplate what it means to be human, it also challenges them to look at their circumstances carefully and reminds them to be grateful for what they have at hand rather than dwelling on what they may have lost. Shark Heart is an unforgettable and much needed love story for a new, uncertain, and rapidly changing era
Town and Country
A poignant tale of grief and change
Booklist (Starred Review)
Habeck's debut explores the nature of grief through deft and beautiful writing . . . Poetic interludes and play-like vignettes punctuate the lyrical prose
New York Post
The sophisticated, emotionally charged poetic language Habeck uses and her writing style makes you think about all of the people you have loved - and how time is truly something to be cherished . . . It was extremely well-done . . . This is the perfect example of a book that once you read, you'll want to talk to everyone you know about it . . . this book is filled with some of the most beautiful language (and story) you'll encounter