Turn Every Page Review: Best IMDB Review

Turn Every Page Review: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb. Turn Every Page review editor Gordon Lish was questioned extensively in a 2015 Paris Review interview about his contentious collaboration with Raymond Carver, one of the most well-known editors-writers-relationships in history. Carver’s prose was heavily edited by Lish, who employed a hard hand to produce the “minimalism” for which Carver is best known.

Turn Every Page Review
Turn Every Page Review ,Photo: The New York Times

The original manuscripts are so instructive because of Lish’s thorough annotations. It’s an intense editing job. So, was the minimalistic aesthetic Lish imposing his sensibility, or was it, Carver? Lish responded angrily to the queries in the 2015 interview, at one point stating: “Would Carver has received the same attention if I hadn’t updated him? Baloney!”

Most relationships between editors and writers don’t garner as much attention as Lish and Carver’s did. However, in some well-known collaborations, such as that between Maxwell Perkins and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the editor plays a crucial role that can’t be ignored. T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” wasn’t so much “edited” by Ezra Pound as it was brutally molded by him. In that one piece, the Pound is palpable. Pound undoubtedly felt that “The Waste Land” required his strong editing. But how does editing work? There’s a mystique about it, even to those engaged in it.

The fascinating documentary “Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb” follows the continued collaboration between a well-known editor and writer. The Power Broker, a 1974 book by Robert Caro on urban architect Robert Moses, and the first four volumes of a planned five-volume biography of Lyndon B. Johnson are among his five immensely popular works. Robert Gottlieb edited all five of these works.

Turn Every Page Review

“Turn Every Page,” a fascinating look at these two men, their various occupations, and their shared ambitions, was directed by Robert Gottlieb’s daughter Lizzie. It also offers a glimpse of a bygone era when relationships like these could flourish and people had more time to focus on developing their careers rather than creating brands.

Caro’s five books are his “claim to fame,” and they have made him a household name among readers of all ages. More ambiguous is Gottlieb’s claim to fame. Over the course of his extensive career, he has edited more than 600 volumes, including The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, True Grit by Charles Portis, and The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford’s exposé on the funeral industry. Bill Clinton’s autobiography was edited by him. He edited many of Toni Morrison’s novels and collaborated with Doris Lessing.

In order to avoid comparisons to Leon Uris’ best-selling Mila 18, he reportedly advised to Joseph Heller that “Catch 18” be modified to “Catch 22.” That one definitely worked out, huh? With all of his other ventures, Gottlieb’s partnership with Caro is the most long-term. Gottlieb is 91 and Caro is 87. They both are well aware that they are running out of time to finish this project—and their illustrious collaboration—in the most satisfactory way possible, which would be the release of the last volume of Caro’s LBJ biography.

Turn Every Page Review
Turn Every Page IMDB, Photo: IMDB

For a variety of reasons, what happens between a writer and an editor is confidential, so Gottlieb had to work hard to persuade her father and Caro to take part. The males are not questioned together. They don’t sit next to each other and converse about semicolons. This corresponds to how they actually interact. They do not interact socially and do not hang around informally.

They only get together when Caro brings manuscript pages with her. (There is an incredible scene where Caro and Gottlieb meet at the publisher’s office and saunter around looking for anyone who might have a pencil they can borrow. No one has a pencil. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.) How does Robert Gottlieb view his position? “My role is to support him in pursuing his goals.” And: “He performs the task. My job is to tidy up. Then we fight.”

The director Gottlieb is pretty restrained throughout. Family is involved in this. In a sweet scene, Gottlieb is seen strolling through a bookstore with his grandson while the older man points out all the books he contributed to and tells the youngster anecdotes. Interviews are conducted with the formidable Ina Caro and the equally formidable Maria Tucci, the wives of both men. These alliances are real ones. Editor David Remnick, publisher Lisa Lucas, and Caro’s agent Lynn Nesbit are among those from the publishing industry who are also questioned.

Then there are the Caro devotees who come to this location to proclaim the books’ praises. (Ethan Hawke’s exquisite reading of The Power Broker’s incantatory opening passages demonstrates Caro’s contention that history must be skillfully told. It’s not enough simply convey the facts. To present the data, you must select the right rhythm. These individuals all offer texture, quirkiness, humor, nuance, and depth. Caro is a serious author who has written works about how power is used in this nation, where it comes from, and what it can do, including corruption. There is a sense of urgency, maybe even fear, about Caro not finishing the book “in time”, as horrible as that sounds.

But you can’t rush it. We won’t rush Caro. The two men would make excellent interview subjects. They’re not quite “academic.” Caro worked as an investigative journalist. Gottlieb claimed that being “a reader” was his primary ambition in life. They have dedicated their entire lives to it and are passionate about what they do. Would someone give these octogenarians a pencil, for God’s sake, so they can get back to work?

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