Read The Long Take by Robin Robertson Online

The Long Take

Walker, 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....

Title : The Long Take
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781509846887
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 237 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Long Take Reviews

  • Antonomasia

    I bloody love long narrative poems, and I wish there were a lot more modern novels in this form. Not sure why I find poetry faster to read - know it isn't the case for everyone. For me, it goes straight into the veins, and it omits the extraneous, leaving only the most vital impressions. Or maybe it's the presentation: shorter lines and more white space on the page make it visually easier to take in.

    It was the form that made me keen to read this, but the US setting held little interest. If a pr
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  • Daniel Sevitt

    Undeniably noir. Less convincingly poetry, at least to this poor reader of poetry. Actually it reminded me of James Ellroy who has covered a fair bit of this kind of 40s in L.A. ground and has made a reasonable stab at noir poetry himself in books like White Jazz. Robertson is more concerned here with the city and how it is failing its inhabitants and its homeless. There is a real sense of urgency as the rise of McCarthyism mirrors the creeping sense of unease about modern America and how it is ...more

  • Maddie C.

    “ I’m interested in films and jazz. Cities.’

    ‘Cities?’

    ‘Yes. American cities.’

    ‘What about American cities?’

    ‘How they fail.’ ”


    The Long Take is an incredibly raw look at the post-war experience, illustrating the particular trials and tribulations felt after the second world war ended, specifically as the veterans of the war returned to their home countries and tried to rebuild their lives. Written in verse, an epic of mini proportions, Robin Robertson lyrical writing conjures beautiful images ...more

  • Britta Böhler

    Absolutely brilliant!

  • Krista

    The paper said he could try out on movie reviews, 

    so he went to see
    Deadly is the Female in the Cameo, or the Star, 

    one of those theatres next to the Arcade. 

    He thought about it all night. That long take 

    inside the getaway car: one shot lasted three minutes easy 

    and was just real life, right there.


    The Long Take is another Man Booker shortlist title that I wouldn't have picked up if not for its place on that list; another book this year that challenges my idea of what makes a “novel”. Written as

    Sunlight blooms in one window – five – ten – twenty – fifty – and the city was a field of standing light.

    April, 48


    ("mulch" isn't supposed to be on its own line there, but it won't fit properly in this review.) This did not feel gimmicky, and I liked the format very much (ultimately, it didn't really feel like reading poetry; I probably need a better definition of “poetry”.) Walker spends most of his time, er, walking, and whether in NY, LA, or Frisco, he is constantly naming and describing streets, neighbourhoods, and the significant buildings that were there at the time. He also watches countless films (even watches them being filmed when he can), and their titles (and many of the actors that he namedrops) were fairly obscure to me. At one point Walker writes, “American cities have no past, no history. Sometimes I think the only American history is on film.” So while the listing of street and film names became a bit repetitive to me, I can appreciate that Robertson was likely trying to bring life back to this history; the history of streets and old buildings and the films in which they can still be seen. (As an added bonus, the book contains many lovely black and white photos of these old spaces.)

    Beyond the poor treatment of returning war veterans, The Long Take is a very political book – describing greed and corruption at City Hall, racism (from segregated troops to Emmet Till and Rosa Parks), common disbelief at entering a new war in Korea. Writing often about shadows and light, keeping the action at the edges of polite society, Robertson pulls off the literary equivalent of film noir and there's an oppressive sense of pessimism that seems to belie the official Happy Days memory of these times. (Walker's boss at the newspaper declares, “We won the war, but we're living like we lost it.”) And because this is mostly set in the LA of the time, and because Walker is so interested in the movies, Joseph McCarthy and his HUAC witch-hunt are malevolently hovering over everything:

    McCarthyism is fascism. Exactly the same. Propaganda and lies, opening divisions, fueling fear, paranoia. Just like the thirties: a state of emergency, followed by fascism, followed by war. You’ve just defeated Hitler. Can’t anyone see you’ve made another, all of your own?

    To ensure that the parallels to modern day America are obvious, Robertson notes in the “Credits” at the end that Senator McCarthy's legal adviser was Roy Cohn, and in the 1970s, Cohn was a friend, mentor, and legal adviser to Donald Trump. Ah, so there's the real point of it all then (which, in interviews, Robertson confirms: McCarthyism led directly to the current administration). I like that Robertson chose a Cape Bretoner as this book's main character – the nonpartisan witness to the effects of America's postwar, hyper-Capitalistic, greed and corruption years – and I particularly identified with Walker as I spent time this summer exploring his highlands homeland, from Broad Cove to Chéticamp; just exactly as described (maybe the point is that some paradises don't get paved over to put up a parking lot?). Ultimately, I found the parallels to modern day America to be a bit too overt, I found the constant street and film names to be tiresome (even if a worthy act of commemoration), but there were many, many fine scenes – related in this engaging jump scene format – and the overall mood and ethos were masterfully accomplished by a practised poetic hand. I don't think I loved this book, and I only grudgingly acknowledge it as a “novel”, but I can't really give it fewer than four stars. ...more

  • Will

    I keep bumping this one up. Now a full 5 stars.

  • Nicky

    4.5* rounded up. Thoughts to follow once I get my head around it and after I see the author in person next week (it was pretty bleak but great).

    Updated 30/8: After seeing an interview, hearing Robin Robertson read in his dramatic Scottish accent and speaking to him about this book and other’s I give all the stars. 5**

    I really feel I need to read this again with his voice in my head and appreciate all the little nuances and themes he discussed.

    These were his thoughts that struck me the most:

    - Thi
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  • Sarah

    Poetry and the Second World War - two things I often struggle with in books. I needn't have worried. The Long Take is a stunning look at how the War impacted upon one man, Walker, a Canadian soldier who was demobilised after fighting in Normandy. Dreading the prospect of going home to rural Nova Scotia, we follow Walker as he moves to New York, and later LA and San Francisco, and experience his PTSD (flashbacks to which increase as the story progresses).

    I think the poetic telling of the story wo
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