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By: Peter Benchley
Sales: 20 million
Published in: 1974 - Language: English
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Jaws is a novel by American writer Peter Benchley. It tells the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage of three men trying to kill it. The novel grows out of Benchley's interest in shark attacks after he learned about the exploits of shark fisherman Frank Mundus in . Doubleday commissioned him to write the novel in , a period when Benchley struggled as a freelance journalist. Through a marketing campaign orchestrated by Doubleday and paperback publisher Bantam, Jaws was incorporated into many book sales clubs catalogues and attracted media interest. After first publication in February , the novel was a great success, with the hardback staying on the bestseller list for some weeks and the subsequent paperback selling millions of copies in the following year. Reviews were mixed, with many literary critics finding the prose and characterization lacking despite the novel's effective suspense. Film producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown read the novel before its publication and bought the film rights, selecting Steven Spielberg to direct the film adaptation. The Jaws film, released in June , omitted many of the novel's minor subplots, focusing more on the shark and the characterizations of the three protagonists. Jaws became the highest-grossing movie in history up to that point, becoming a watershed film in motion picture history and the father of the summer blockbuster film. Three sequels followed the film.