Orion Fiction 27th June 2019 (Hardback)
SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO RISK EVERYTHING… TO FIND SOMETHING
Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.
The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.
Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.
This is a delightful and quirky piece of contemporary fiction. A perfect summer read. In a layered plot we meet Andrew a sad, rather lost character, but someone who I also found to be engaging and likeable. The humdrum of daily work forms the backdrop of this story as Andrew goes about his business of tracking down relatives and arranging funerals for those with no obvious means. This aspect of the story is sensitively written as we learn about those who die a lonely death, often losing touch with others as life passes.
Andrew is stuck, due to a number of reasons which emerge as the book progresses. To free himself he must own up to a massive lie, one that is ridiculous but plausible, that started off small and grew to become all encompassing. His life is comfortable so he needs to decide whether he will maintain the status quo or risk everything for something better.
This book is a lovely, warm and uplifting read. Parts are cringeworthy and I found myself rooting for Andrew, to be brave and strong, but truthfully I didn’t envy the position he had gotten into. Written in the third person entirely from Andrew’s perspective at 344 pages this is an enjoyable, easy read. While falling into the category of light fiction, this book has some serious themes which are written perceptively and integrated into the story making for a pleasing read.
Out later this month, definitely a book I would recommend. Read on now to find out the inspiration for this novel.
About the Author
Richard Roper lives in London. SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR is his first novel. He says –
Picture the scene. It’s Monday morning and you’re making a cup of tea in the shared kitchen when someone casually asks how your weekend was. ‘Oh, I just had a quiet one,’ you’ll say, because the truth was you spent 48 hours eating crisps and performing Torvill and Dean’s Bolero routine with your confused cat. What I’m trying to say is that we all tell white lies. Unfortunately for Andrew, the protagonist of this book, his has got rather out of hand, leaving him with a choice: stay where he is – lonely, unfulfilled, but comfortable – or tell the truth and risk his life falling apart for a chance to be happy.
Andrew’s story is inspired by an article I stumbled across, about the council workers who deal with situations when someone dies alone. Their days are spent sifting through the ephemera of those who’ve slipped through the cracks, searching for clues to a next of kin, working out how much money the deceased has left behind. In 1984 a law passed that made councils responsible for burying someone when – as the euphemistic wording sets out – ‘no suitable arrangements have been made’. While the council workers are required to make these arrangements, they are under no obligation to attend the funerals. Yet they do, sometimes dozens of them a year, just to make sure at least someone is there.
Sometimes the smallest gestures can be the most meaningful.
This is Andrew’s story. I hope you enjoy it.
This is a blog tour, details are below so please do check out what others are saying about his book, published later this month. Special thanks to Tracey for inviting me to be involved and for Orion Books for providing me with an early copy of this book.