LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

The Long Take

by Robin Robertson

Poetry

The Long Take Synopsis

**LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018** Winner of The Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018 'A beautiful, vigorous and achingly melancholy hymn to the common man that is as unexpected as it is daring' John Banville, Guardian A noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry, The Long Take is one of the most remarkable - and unclassifiable - books of recent years. Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can't return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he moves from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed film noir to flourish. The Dream had gone sour but - as those dark, classic movies made clear - the country needed outsiders to study and dramatise its new anxieties. While Walker tries to piece his life together, America is beginning to come apart: deeply paranoid, doubting its own certainties, riven by social and racial division, spiralling corruption and the collapse of the inner cities. The Long Take is about a good man, brutalised by war, haunted by violence and apparently doomed to return to it - yet resolved to find kindness again, in the world and in himself. Robin Robertson's The Long Take is a work of thrilling originality.

The Long Take Press Reviews

Robin Robertson's wonderful new book is hard to classify. It would be possible to review The Long Take as if it were a novel, even a thriller of sorts . . . This is a poetic work in which human degradation is afforded fleetingly beautiful expression . . . It reads at time as a secular Pilgrim's Progress and many of it's sequences put me in mind of Denis Johnson's reports from the abyss of drugs and drink. - Literary Review

Robertson has chosen a supremely uncomfortable, recognizable flashpoint in US history, an almost perfect mirror image of the nation today: crude, newly unleashed material ambitions mix with off-the-chart levels of fear and paranoia. -- Todd McEwen - Sunday Herald

The Long Take, by Robin Robertson, is a narrative in verse set in the immediate post-war years in America, that is at once heartbreaking and bracing. Think of it as the best black and white 1940s movie you will ever encounter in print. -- John Banville - Guardian, Best summer books 2018

The Long Take is a bullet of a book. It is deeply noir, scything open post-war Los Angeles to show us a living, breathing city: a complicated social setting with cinema layered into its very fabric, a place growing at the expense of many of its most vulnerable citizens. It is a bold book - both imaginative and brave - but, more than that, it is a book that hits its target. It flies. It feels true. -- Ryan Gattis, author of All Involved The beauty of The Long Take lies in Robertson's seemingly effortless ability to evoke the magic of cinema on every page . . . One of the most moving records in recent times of human fragility, ambition, injustice, violence, and our deeply troubled path through cities and nature...The Long Take will be remembered for its unparalleled originality, and an uncompromising power of storytelling that transcends the boundaries of film, fiction and poetry. -- Kit Fan - Poetry Review

Modern, complex, political ... The Long Take is very much in line with the tradition that inspired it, not least when Robertson emphasizes the dead streets of Los Angeles , and the possibility that the United States, with its hatred of the other, might soon turn fascist... The Long Take's larger theme is the capacity of greed and politics to turn hope into despair. In this way, the poem speaks to the present as well as to the past. - Los Angeles Review of Books

Having held his readers in the grip of many small tales, Robin Robertson now launches into a full narrative telling, which is alive with the details of post-war American life as well as the jumpy subjective life of its protagonist. The Long Take will thrill you with its shadowy mysteries and cinematic intensity. -- Billy Collins Like all of Robertson's work, I approached The Long Take with great anticipation, for few writers so expertly pull the curtains back on the many collective fictions, both ancient and new, that constitute our understanding of the world. All of Robertson's extraordinary gifts as a writer are on display here: his probing intelligence and wit, the strangely tactile beauty of his lines, and his stubborn refusal to ignore all that lingers unaccounted for at the edges of our vision. I was genuinely bowled over by it. -- Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds Robertson has cast a national, cultural, psychological and class outsider of vibrant and seedy post-war America into a palpable anti-hero eerily resonant with our contemporary world. The result is a ravishing achievement. -- Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize The Long Take shows it is perfectly possible to write poetry which is both accessible and subtle, which has a genuine moral and social conscience . . . This is a major achievement and will linger long in the reader's mind -- Stuart Kelly - Scotsman on Sunday

The words flow like the frames of a classic film masterpiece. -- Mike Hodges, filmmaker, Get Carter, Croupier, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead This is a poem-cum-novel by Scottish writer Robin Robertson, the prize-winning author of five previous poetry collections, which is a cinematic road trip through America. It's from the point of view of Walker, a discharged World War II combat vet. Rather than return to Canada at the end of the war, he drifts from New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco. There are flashbacks to the war but he basically walks through an America which changes around him. It's an incredible achievement, showing how poetry can reach the parts narrative prose can't. -- Irvine Welsh - Metro

A beautiful, vigorous and achingly melancholy hymn to the common man that is as unexpected as it is daring . . . The Long Take is a masterly work of art, exciting, colourful, fast-paced - the old-time movie reviewer's vocabulary is apt to the case - and almost unbearably moving. -- John Banville - Guardian

The Long Take is like a film noir on the page. A book about a man and a city in shock, it's an extraordinary evocation of the debris and ongoing destruction of war even in times of peace. In taking a scenario we think we know from the movies but offering a completely different perspective, Robin Robertson shows the flexibility a poet can bring to form and style. -- Man Booker judges' citation -

If you loved this, you might like these...

The Half-God of Rainfall
First Rhyme Mom
BRAID Poems & Thoughts
A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781509846887
Publication date: 20/09/2018
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781509846887
Publication date: 20th September 2018
Author: Robin Robertson
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 256 pages
Genres: Poetry,
Categories: Poetry by individual poets,

About Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. His first collection won a number of prizes, including the 1997 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. He recently received the 2004 E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of twenty Next Generation poets.

More About Robin Robertson

More Books By Robin Robertson

Cover for Hill of Doors by Robin Robertson
Cover for The Wrecking Light by Robin Robertson
View All Books By Robin Robertson

Share this book