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Search tags: s-d-robertson
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text 2019-01-21 11:07
Reading progress update: I've read 34%. - now there's clever for you...
Random - Craig Robertson

...just as I reached the point where I was thinking, "this will get tedious if we just keep repeating this pattern" the story twists, motivations deepen, threat cranks up and I'm STILL seeing everything from the point of view of one very unusual serial killer.

 

Great stuff... but how does this become that start of a series about two Glasgow Murder Squad Detectives?

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text 2019-01-20 19:57
Reading progress update: I've read 19%. Wow! What a start.
Random - Craig Robertson

This is a book where the voice of the serial killer slides into your mind and refuses to leave. It’s fresh, original, well-written and hard to predict.

 

After two Meh reads in a row, it’s great to find something that keeps me reading long after my eyes are telling me I should have stopped.

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review 2018-12-28 00:29
Review: The Long Take
The Long Take - Robin Robertson

There are always one or two Man Booker nominees that are all about the form, excessively so. That's not a bad thing, because sometimes those books still have substance, or maybe just a beauty that astonishes. But it's not uncommon for some of these books to lack all but form. Enter this year's novel in verse, The Long Take.

What's great about The Long Take? There are some gorgeous passages that read in their poetic form with pure delight:

The view from the window was west, over to Russian Hill,
and the bay, and the Golden Gate.
He doesn't deserve this city,
its play of height and depth, this
changing sift of color and weather.
The water held in it a shimmy of light
and the days were warming through June and July
and the road that threads through the hem of the Highlands
would now be decked with wild stock, lupins and apple blossom
all the way to Chéticamp and Pleasant Bay.
She will be wearing her sleeveless dress, cornflower blue
and walking away.
He could not call her back to his life: which is a horror,
which is the dead calf in the bank-head field, a black flap
bubbling with maggots,
ugly and wrong.
Her clean eyes could not see this,
what he has become.



And there are passages that when put into verse drag and drag, particularly the lists Robertson likes to utilize throughout this work:

This afternoon there was a film-shoot going –
all the regular stuff, generators, cables, lights on tripod,
camera tracks, grip stands, hangers, wardrobe rails –
and there was Cornel Wilde having a smoke,
talking to this short guy, so they all strolled over, friendly like,
to say hello. Rennert wanted to talk about Leave Her to Heaven
and Gene Tierney, so he did,
and the actor was smiling and nodding,
so Walked turned to the other guy,
who said: 'Hi, I'm Joe.'
'Are you in the picture?' Walker said.
'Nah,' he smiled. 'I'm just making it.'
Then it clicked. He'd seen his face in Photoplay.
This was the man who shot Deadly Is the Female –
Gun Crazy
, as it came to be.
This was Joseph H. Lewis.
'How did you shoot that sequence, eh?' he was asking, suddenly,
'Y'know, from the back of that getaway car?'
'Well, son, I'll tell you –
if you tell me a decent bar on Main Street
near the Banner Theater. We're there tonight.'
'Easy. The King Eddy's on the very same block, east of 5th.'



The Long Take vacillates between these two extremes: poems that are not allowed to breathe in the confines of the larger narrative; a narrative that is broken into verse purely for the sake of being verse.

Once I began to treat each brief section as a single poem linked to a larger collection, once I began to read them aloud, or imagine them being read aloud, I started to enjoy this “novel” much more. Still, the lack of narrative and story, paired with the inconsistency of the verses, did not make a very favorable impression on me. The promise of a story about a veteran dealing with PTSD fell flat. There are some good moments in The Long Take, but sometimes it takes far too long to find them.

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review 2018-10-22 22:32
Review: The Deptford Trilogy
The Deptford Trilogy - Robertson Davies

The Deptford Trilogy is comprised of three books. (Go figure!) They are Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. This is my first outing with the author, Robertson Davies, but apparently he was big on trilogies. He wrote all of his novels as part of a cycle comprised of three books. The Deptford Trilogy, finished in 1975, was his second.

Generally, I do not read multi-volume works (I want the credit for having read each book after all), but in the case of Davies, it seemed appropriate. From the moment I first heard of this book, I thought of The Deptford Trilogy as one complete novel. And maybe that's a mistake, because while the three novels that make up this trilogy tell one complete story, each is done in such a differing manner that thoughts and opinions on each novel vary widely. So let's briefly take a look at each novel...

Fifth Business is superb. Davies created some wonderful characters and placed them in a story that is always moving. This first one is narrated by Dunstan Ramsay, a character who is close to the story and grows with it. Overall, the pace is great, though it drags a little in the second half. So much happens in this first novel. Other than the lack of a fully satisfying conclusion, Fifth Business easily stands on its own as a novel.

The second novel, The Manticore, slows everything down. The narrative switches to a character on the fringe of the story, the son of Boy Staunton. David Staunton, a tiresome attorney, relays the details of his life to his therapist. Doesn't sound that exciting, does it? It's not. Largely, this second book is not needed for the larger story. Sure, it adds some questions about the subjectivity of Ramsay's story, and gives the reader a different perspective. As David is just a priggish bore, however, The Manticore lacks the drive of the first novel.

World of Wonders returns the narrative to Ramsay, but as a channel through which Paul Dempster tells his story. This trilogy is all about the relationship between Dunstan, Boy, and Dempster, so it's nice that it returns to focus on these three in the third book. This final volume is not as riveting as the first, but it adds some dimension to it in providing a perspective previously unseen. World of Wonders is a satisfying conclusion to a story that has its high points and low points.

Looking at The Deptford Trilogy as a whole, what's startling to me looking back is the simplicity of the story. After over 800 pages, I realize this story is really all about the snowball that is thrown on page 2. Sure, it's also a story about myth, madness, and magic, but it's all wrapped up in that snow-covered stone. That single toss of a snowball has a dramatic effect on these characters, and Davies does a fabulous job of allowing that one act to haunt the rest of the story. This is an excellent display of storytelling. I will assuredly have a go at another of Davies’ trilogies, though whether I read it as one volume or as three has yet to be decided

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review 2018-10-12 04:15
Beowulf (Audiobook)
Beowulf - R.K. Gordon,Unknown,Robertson Dean

The only thing I knew about Beowulf was the three-episode arc on Xena that dealt with the legend in their own special Xena way. Then there was that weird episode of Star Trek: Voyager, which pretty describes every episode of that show, but it's the one where the doctor is Beowulf. So I've been meaning to read the original - or as close to the original as we can get - for years now.

 

The prose is lush and descriptive with a minimal use of words, and Robertson Dean did a great job performing the piece. It was bit hard to follow though at times, since there a lot of unfamiliar names and many of the words don't mean the same thing they mean nowadays, if we use them at all. I'm definitely going to have to read this with my own eyeballs one day. I'm sure I'll get more out of it when I do.

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