The Constitutionals: A Fiction


  • A fictional treatment of the meditative author’s convalescent wanderings around the town of Reading
  • A Robinsonade in which our narrator, weakened and marooned by illness, walks his local streets, pondering on recovery and rescue, for himself and for the diseased society in which he finds us confined
  • An art-house film in book form, inspired by the Robinson trilogy of Patrick Keillor and by a myriad other fictional Robinsonades
  • Explores and celebrates the links between walking, thinking, reading, and therapy

‘Drinking deep from one of the great and self-renewing sources of the English imagination, Peter Robinson caulks the punctured craft of contemporary fiction. His wit and intelligence reinvigorate our diminished sense of the local: as it reluctantly reveals itself through a series of melancholy peregrinations. Here the solitary poet walks with his invisible peers, ventriloquizing the grateful dead, and making new.’ Iain Sinclair


Taking some convalescent wanders around Reading, the narrator of The Constitutionals, a figure haunted by being called Crusoe in childhood, also ‘sets out to avert global catastrophe, hoping to trigger the end of neoliberalism by going for a walk.’ What does he discover about the place in which he’s settled with his wife, who he will call Friday, and their ocean-haunted daughter?

Published on the tercentenary of Robinson Crusoe’s appearance, our author answers such questions by paying sustained tribute to the town, and the founding ‘autobiography’ by which it has – as have so many works alluded to here – been indelibly marked.

Peter Robinson. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 305 pages, April 2019.

“I’ve been reading and enjoying Peter Robinson’s learned, clever, funny, angry ‘The Constitutionals’ – in which the narrator (nicknamed Crusoe in childhood) perambulates around the town of Reading, ‘hoping to trigger the end of neoliberalism by going for a walk’.” Charles Boyle, CB editions, author of ‘Good Morning, Mr Crusoe‘.

Discover Robinson Crusoe’s castaway music as imagined by Peter Robinson:

DEL Island Discs Episode Nine: Robinson Crusoe

The inspiration behind the cover design for “The Constitutionals”


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