Gently Down the Stream

Hank Roberts can’t buy a thrill. His wife, Mary, his best friend, Phil, Phil’s annoying new girlfriend and Canada’s hottest new female novelist, Rebecca — everyone but Hank, it seems — has either become what they set out to be or are well on their way to getting there. Hank isn’t old, but he’s not young anymore, either; is bright, but by no means brilliant; is undeniably restless, but not by any stretch ambitious. He loves his wife, his dog, and rock and roll, but lately that just doesn’t seem to be enough. Doomed, apparently, to be just another overeducated and underachieving Toronto thirty-something, Hank gets jarred out of his itchy complacency by a chance musical encounter at a Friday-night karaoke bar and his realization of the increasing gentrification of his west-end neighbourhood and, by extension, of the mind-numbing homogenization of the world around him.

Aided by just the right amount of chemical self-medication and armed with only a karaoke microphone and a midnight vandal’s sack of eco-warriorism goodies, Hank sets out to reenergize his life and save the planet, or least his little part of it. The question of whether or not his marriage, his sanity, or that very world itself can survive his determined efforts makes Gently Down the Stream Ray Robertson’s most engaging, searching, and mature novel yet.

Praise for Gently Down the Stream

Robertson’s art is as character-driven as Mordecai Richler’s, and he is becoming an equally brilliant observer and writer on human weakness who wants us all to behave better and doesn’t care who he angers along the way.

-Globe & Mail

One of Canada’s finest novelists.

-Ottawa Express

Funny and thoughtful.

– Edmonton Journal

Among the most talented of a younger flight of Canadian novelists.

-Owen Sun Sound Times

Robertson’s knack for creating interesting characters is matched by his ear for language. [H]e has given readers a funny, recognizable, contemporary portrait of disaffected manhood. With this compulsively readable, intelligent, witty and sad novel, Robertson deserves to achieve mainstream fame.

-Books in Canada