It is 2013 and Calgary's Bow River is beginning to rise. Two homeless men stand by the bank and contemplate the death of another friend-an accident?
Taking cover downtown that night, Shermeto intervenes in the attack on a bar patron, and finds himself laid up in the hospital. Outside, as the city reels from an unthinkable disaster, Shermeto finds himself away from the swelling river and face-to-face with a part of his past he is trying to hide from: his daughter Kendra.
"Rough is a gripping and frank portrayal of life on the streets, where suffering is the glue and secrets abound amid a string of deaths among the transient. When the river jumps the banks, eating the city's downtown core as it goes, one man, homeless by choice, is forced to confront his past in order to save those he cares about. Visually rich and intense, Robin van Eck's debut novel provides a deep reflection on humanity with all its grit and murk, hidden inside a mystery. An eye-opening, haunting and unforgettable read." Fran Kimmel, author of No Good Asking.
"An immersive read. Frank, sometimes stark, yet grounded in tenderness. Kicks assumptions about homeless people where the sun don't shine." Rona Altrows, author of At This Juncture, Key in Lock
"With grit and empathy, Robin van Eck shows how easily any of us might slip through the gaps in our culture's safety nets, and, for those left on the other side, how we can lose parts of ourselves trying to drag our loved ones back." Naomi K. Lewis, author of Tiny Lights for Travellers
"Fascinating insight into a mostly unknown world as the rest of it spins crazily out of control on the surge of a river’s whim. A story of damaged people - damaged by others, themselves, tragic circumstances- riding a tumultuous wave of terror, guilt, redemption, forgiveness and love.
Certain lines will stop you cold." Anthony Bidulka, author of Going to Beautiful and others.
"In the midst of speaking, raging rivers, this genre-crossing novel combines family ordeal with murder mystery played out on the undercurrents of the homeless. Lost fathers, sons and mothers, found daughters and newly-acquired family, van Eck eddies capably between past and present in this disarming story of familial reclamation from the river and the rough." Lee Kvern, author of 7 Ways to Sunday, The Matter of Sylvie
In the News and Around the Web
Read Alberta Interview, June 19, 2021
Alberta Views, March 1, 2021
Calgary Herald, December 4, 2020
Rebel Rebel Podcast
12 or 20 (second series) questions with Robin van Eck
#1 Fiction Bestseller - Calgary - Week of November 14
#3 Fiction Bestseller in Alberta for week ending November 1, 2020