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Fiction Literary

Gently Down the Stream

by (author) Ray Robertson

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2006
Literary, Humorous
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2005
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


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.

About the author

Ray Robertson is the author of five novels: What Happened Later, Gently Down the Stream, Home Movies, Heroes, and Moody Food. The latter two received starred reviews from Quill & Quire, and the last made it to the top one hundred lists of The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun. In 2004, Ray published Mental Hygiene, a collection of his articles, essays, and book reviews. Ray lives in Toronto, where he teaches Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.

Ray Robertson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Funny and thoughtful.”

Edmonton Journal

“Robertson’s art is as character-driven as Mordecai Richler’s and he is becoming an equally brilliant observer and writer on human weakness.”

The Globe and Mail

“With this compulsively readable, intelligent, witty and sad novel. Robertson deserves to achieve mainstream fame.”

Books in Canada

“[Robertson’s] best to date, a novel filled with human weakness that will make many a reader come alive with recognition.”

The Sun-Times

“Robertson is, in fact, a good writer, and his story … is simple and full of accurate sharply-expressed observations.”

National Post