What if you're a public employee whose job it is to visit homes where people have died alone to see if you can find a next of kin and to see if there appear to be any assets to cover the funeral. This is Andrew's job and even though it's not part of his job he always goes to the funeral. Andrew is a kind and likable man but keeps himself socially apart. In this novel he will be forced to face a seemingly harmless lie he's told and a painful memory he's buried. Richard Roper has created a wonderful story on a unique subject.— Patty
June 2019 Indie Next List
“Richard Roper’s debut is utterly delightful. I was spellbound from the very first page. Andrew’s job is a sensitive one: when someone dies at home alone, he is called to literally dig through personal effects — scraps of paper or old holiday cards — and determine if there are any next of kin. Andrew’s daily experience with the dearly departed, combined with his model train obsession, dysfunctional office mates, and an estranged sister, result in a compelling read. Funny, smart, and sad, Roper’s How Not to Die Alone is just wonderful.”
— Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
Smart, darkly funny, and life-affirming, How Not to Die Alone is the bighearted debut novel we all need, for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, it's a story about love, loneliness, and the importance of taking a chance when we feel we have the most to lose.
"Wryly funny and quirkily charming."--Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters
Sometimes you need to risk everything...to find your something.
Andrew's been feeling stuck.
For years he's worked a thankless public health job, searching for the next of kin of those who die alone. Luckily, he goes home to a loving family every night. At least, that's what his coworkers believe.
Then he meets Peggy.
A misunderstanding has left Andrew trapped in his own white lie and his lonely apartment. When new employee Peggy breezes into the office like a breath of fresh air, she makes Andrew feel truly alive for the first time in decades.
Could there be more to life than this?
But telling Peggy the truth could mean losing everything. For twenty years, Andrew has worked to keep his heart safe, forgetting one important thing: how to live. Maybe it's time for him to start.
About the Author
Richard Roper is a nonfiction editor at Headline, where he works with authors such as James Acaster, Joel Dommett, Andrew O'Neill, and Frank Turner. How Not to Die Alone is inspired by an article he read about people whose job it is to follow up after people die alone. It is his debut novel.
“Just the kind of book I wanted to read in these times. Charming, empathetic, witty, emotional, and hopeful, Roper’s cast of quirky, vulnerable characters make for a truly warm and affecting debut.”
—J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
“[A] winning debut novel....Roper illuminates Andrew’s interior life to reveal not what an odd duck he is, but what odd ducks we all are.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Wryly funny and quirkily charming—perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.”
—Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters
"Richard Roper uplifts the human spirit and shows us how to embrace life and hope in his wickedly witty debut.”
—Phaedra Patrick, author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
“[An] off-beat and winning debut....How Not to Die Alone earns its pathos. Even more to its credit, it gives resiliency and the triumph of the human spirit a good name.”
—Wall Street Journal
“[A] charming debut [and] enjoyable read, How Not to Die Alone tackles a painful subject with goodhearted characters it’s easy to root for.”
“The pleasure in Roper’s winning, good-hearted tale is seeing this lonely sad sack cautiously rejoin the world.”
“Roper’s delightful debut is as funny as it is touching....This story of a neurotic, tenderhearted man struggling to learn how not to be alone is irresistible.”
"Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, Roper’s endearing debut novel is a wonderful exploration of loneliness and the universal desire for connection. Darkly funny and uplifting, How Not to Die Alone will leave you wanting to seize the day as you cheer the protagonist on."
—Bianca Marais, author of Hum If You Don't Know the Words
“Quirky and heartfelt....Andrew's past traumas are revealed gradually, and the reasons behind his isolation are heartbreaking and poignant. A moving and funny look at grief, hope, and the power of human connections.”
“Funny, moving and thought-provoking—I loved this.”
—Clare Mackintosh, author of After the End
“A lively blend of humor and earnest emotion....As Andrew slowly comes to grips with being his true self, without pretense, readers will root for him to find liberation and love. A wry, humorous story.”
“Tragic, sweet, and hopeful....This novel will appeal to fans of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.”