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The Long Take, Or, A Way to Lose More Slowly

The Long Take, Or, A Way to Lose More Slowly

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2018
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780525655213
Branch Call Number: 821.914 R548L 2018
Characteristics: 237 pages : illustrations, map ; 20 cm
Alternative Title: Way to lose more slowly


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Dec 30, 2019

I’ll tell you a bit of what this book is about: war, ptsd, violence, city life and culture, city real estate development, racism, paranoia, anti-communism, loss, homelessness, film noir, coyote, the many qualities of light, dark, shade. And this is just a bit of it. It sounds like a shopping list. But the book is anything but an empty list of “issues” touched on and then shelved. Instead the author integrates it all into an unbelievably dense collection of intimate and interrelated connections. I couldn’t put it down. The hero Walker, exhibits the best of the noir anti-hero, brutally honest, fearless, suffering. The best book of fiction (cross between prose and poetry) of the year for me. The book’s epigraph says in Gaelic: “cos cheum nach gabh tilleadh”, which my handy but crude Google translator tells me means something like “a non-returnable path’ or “a step that is not possible to return from” (my spins on Google’s translate). READ IT!

May 06, 2019

"The Long Take: A Noir Narrative" weaves together two series of events, both as lived by one man. Walker fought in World War II, at D-Day and other major, European battles. Most of his time in this book is spent in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He relives the war, experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, while the place in Los Angeles where he lives is destroyed to build freeways and parking lots. The noir of the subtitle is not the drama and tropes of a noir movie, but rather the noir movies he goes to the theatre to see, as well as the many times he bumps into the making of the films or their creators on the streets of Los Angeles. If you are a noir film follower, you will run into many noir films with which you are familiar. Occasionally, Walker also reminisces on his young life growing up in Nova Scotia, where he knows he would never again fit. The violence of the destruction of the city life of Los Angeles he knows, destroyed to create mainly freeways and parking lots, and the violence of opposing armies destroying cities and countryside in the war in Europe, come together. They become the "long take" of the book. It is written in free verse, and one can even not notice the line breaks and stanza structure that formalize it as poetry on the page. It is a riveting narrative of life's disruptions that can be read without pause. It does not have a story plot as such, however the impact will last long after you finish the book.

Mar 29, 2019

A must read. Very poignant. 50's L.A. could be Portland today in a lot of respects. My favorite read of 2018!


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