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.
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EARLY PRAISE FOR ROUGH
"Robin van Eck’s novel Rough brings Calgary vividly to life during the historic flood of 2013. Part mystery, part family drama, the story follows Shermeto, a former photographer and widower living on the streets as the downtown is evacuated. Estranged from his children and haunted by memories and ill health, Shermeto finds ways to make amends with strangers as his daughter, Kendra, risks her life to try to locate him. As the Bow River rises, the tension builds, and the true dangers of the downtown emerge out of the flood waters while father and daughter race to set things right before it’s too late."
Lauren Carter, author of This Has Nothing to Do With You, Swarm
"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
"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
"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 of a mystery. An eye-opening, haunting, and unforgettable read." Fran Kimmel, author of No Good Asking