The Long Take by Robin Robertson

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Pan Macmillan. 3. New York Skyline c.1950 By Josh Graciano Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0 via flickr 4. Film Noir by Me Jenelle Wolny Licence: CC BY 2.0 via flickr
I really liked this book.
Words put together for maximum impact. Stunning.

Walker is a Canadian World War II veteran. Suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and feeling unable to return home to his previous life, he travels first to New York then to Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is haunted by his war experiences, and his health deteriorates.

“And they’re closing off the city with these freeways,

saying it improves connections,

shutting down sidewalks to enhance security.

We’re bordered and policed by concrete.

For what? The cult of the car.

To enshrine the unalienable right of all Americans to drive one.

To build our lives and cities around them.”

~ Quote from the book.

“He couldn’t sleep nights. So he walked.

A different route each time, just to pay attention.”

~ Quote from the book.

“… he steadied himself to leave; saw an old man

right in front of him doing a strange, stiff shuffle,

shifting his weight from foot to foot,

not knowing where to put his hands, as if he’d discovered

the pockets of his jacket were still sewn up.

Then he sees it’s himself, in a mirror.”

~Quote from the book.
  • The Guardian: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. Walker is a wonderful invention, a decent man carrying the canker of a past sin for which he cannot forgive himself. What Siodmak says of Walker can also be said of Robertson, that he has “what we call / deep focus. Long eyes for seeing.”
  • Walter Scott Prize judges: “defies conventional literary boundaries but is a moving, memorable and wholly original work of writing.”

Awards: 2019 Winner Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction; 2018 Shortlisted Man Booker Prize; 2018 Winner Goldsmiths Prize; 2018 Winner Roehampton Poetry Prize


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