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.
“Robertson is, in fact, a good writer, and his story … is simple and full of accurate sharply-expressed observations.”
“Funny and thoughtful.”
“Robertson’s art is as character-driven as Mordecai Richler’s and he is becoming an equally brilliant observer and writer on human weakness.”
“With this compulsively readable, intelligent, witty and sad novel. Robertson deserves to achieve mainstream fame.”
“[Robertson’s] best to date, a novel filled with human weakness that will make many a reader come alive with recognition.”
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