Helman reviews Rafal Syska's book Maintaining distance. The film world of Robert Altman (2008). The book is also the habilitation thesis of the author. Helman notes that Syska's research on American cinema and monographies, as well as his experience as an editor of several edited volumes gave him solid grounding in preparing such a valuable monograph. In order to describe such a difficult director, that escapes all classification, Syska successfully combines several aims and methodologies in order to produce a book that is both comprehensive and complete. Helman concentrates on the structure of the book, thus bringing us closer to Syska the monographer.