Winner of the Goldsmiths 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.
'Bold, brilliant, filled with wonderful imagery and meticulously researched, this is as poignant and visual as classic film noir.' Ian Rankin
About Robin Robertson
Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. His four collections of poetry have received the E. M. Forster Award and various Forward Prizes.
I have just completed a journey into a place I haven't been before or could even imagine. Reading 'The Long Take' I entered into a world of promised hope, freedom and unity amongst people seen through the eyes of Walker, a Canadian D-Day veteran, immersed in the realms of post traumatic stress disorder.
The Long Take is written in poetry that painted noir pictures, music, sights and sounds in my head of post-war New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in a way that could not have been achieved through the mere medium of prose.
Walker's flashbacks to his horrific war experiences, helps him see clarity and truth to what he observes on the streets of his new adopted country, amongst the urban decay, racial and social division and corruption from the highest levels of government.
This is a unique piece of work, by the acclaimed poet Robin Robertson and I cannot conceive how a masterpiece such as this could be accomplished by anyone else.