‘The Long Take’ by Robin Robertson

A verse and prose tour-de-force, The Long Take is a remarkable 200 page film noir narrative as Walker, a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, finds he cannot return to his home in Nova Scotia. Instead, we witness, through Walker, the decline of the American dream as he drifts between San Francisco, LA and New York.

Taking up the position of a journalist, Walker charts the seediness of cities riven by social and racial divisions, corruption and the social decline of the inner city neighbourhoods.

Achingly melancholic, The Long Take is a paean to lost opportunities of post-war America, a hypnotic, atmospheric narrative of broken chances, lost opportunities and, as a timely allegory, it is disturbingly profound. A dreamlike telling, once started, Robin Robertson’s oh-so-accessible verse is almost unputdownable! A daring, high-concept triumph.

Shortlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize, Robin Robertson lost out to Anna Burns and Milkman. (But Robertson did win the 2019 Walter Scott Prize – the first Scot and first poet to win the award).