The long take by robin robertson
The Long Take by Robin RobertsonWalker, a young Canadian recently demobilised after war and his active service in the Normandy landings and subsequent European operations. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and unable to face a return to his family home in rural Nova Scotia, he goes in search of freedom, change, anonymity and repair. We follow Walker through a sequence of poems as he moves through post-war American cities of New York, Los Angles and San Francisco.
The Long Take by Robin Robertson: A bloody and brutal verse novel
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The pronouncement takes for granted that there is general agreement on what constitutes an epic. But is there? An epic does not have to be of epic proportions, nor does it need to take the lofty classical tone; it can be humble, like us, composed, as WH Auden has it, of Eros and of dust. Here we have a poet at the peak of his symphonic powers taking a great risk, and succeeding gloriously. Robertson sings of arms and the man, though his model is not Virgil but the movies, and in particular the black-and-white or soot-and-silver masterpieces produced by Hollywood in, roughly, the latter half of the s and first half of the 50s, such as Out of the Past , Kiss Me Deadly and The Big Combo. He is, in his way, as much a casualty of war as the friends and foes who died in the slaughterhouse that was the coast of Normandy in the summer of Robertson, who must have given years to researching his material, writes of war with appalling immediacy, surveying the carnage with a calmly Homeric eye.
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. 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: powerful depiction of traumatic violence and its reverberating aftermath. Robin Robertson is best known as an editor — of novelists John Banville, Anne Enright, James Kelman and Irvine Welsh, and poets Anne Carson and Alice Oswald among many others — and as a poet himself, whose first book, A Painted Field , inaugurated a rare run of prizes and shortlistings. That run continues with The Long Take , written in that most dubious halfway house of genres, the verse novel, and just shortlisted for the Man Booker and Goldsmith Prizes.
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Look Inside. Nov 20, Minutes Buy. Jun 02, ISBN Nov 20, ISBN Nov 20, Minutes. As he finds his way 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.