Fiction/Literature

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

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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.

Andrew’s day-to-day is a little grim, searching for next of kin for those who die alone. Thankfully, he has a loving family waiting for him when he gets home, to help wash the day’s cares away. At least, that’s what his coworkers believe.

Andrew didn’t mean for the misunderstanding to happen, yet he’s become trapped in his own white lie. The fantasy of his wife and two kids has become a pleasant escape from his lonely one bedroom with only his Ella Fitzgerald records for company. But when new employee Peggy breezes into his life like a breath of fresh air, Andrew is shaken out of his routine. She doesn’t notice the wall he’s been safely hiding behind and their friendship promises to break it down.

Andrew must choose: Does he tell the truth and start really living his life, but risk losing his friendship with Peggy? Or will he stay safe and alone, behind the façade? How Not to Die Alone is about the importance of taking a chance in those moments when we have the most to lose. Sharp and funny, warm and real, it’s the kind of big-hearted story we all need.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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 

“Darkly humorous.”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
“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

“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.”
Publishers Weekly
 
“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.” 
Kirkus Reviews“ 
 
“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.” 
—Shelf Awareness

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.

Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (May 28, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525539883

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Comments 1

  1. Olopha Felix

    I loved this book. Andrew was so darkly funny and bumbling. He makes up a family he doesn’t have, and perpetuates this myth for five years. That alone would be a daunting task. But he used spreadsheets to keep his story straight.

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