In Roper’s quirky and heartfelt debut, a lonely man learns to step outside the confines of his safe but stifling comfort zone.
Andrew never meant to get caught up in a lie at work. It started innocently enough—he misspoke when his boss asked if he had kids, so he made up an entire family to get out of an awkward conversation. It was all a misunderstanding, but now his office thinks he has a loving wife and two children even though Andrew lives alone. His only friends are members of an online model train forum, and his only relative is a faraway sister with whom he has a strained relationship. Andrew thinks it’s just more comfortable to be by himself—but then Peggy starts working at his office. Their job is an unusual one: visiting the apartments of people who died alone, examining their belongings to see if they had next of kin. As they sort through apartments, Andrew and Peggy become closer, and for the first time in quite a while, Andrew starts to form a connection with another person. The problem, of course, is that she thinks he’s a married father. Telling her the truth would put everything in jeopardy—but it might be the only way he can truly be happy. What could be an overwhelmingly grim premise is much sweeter and funnier than it sounds. Andrew is an easy character to like: an introspective and kind loner who’s suffocating under the weight of his own grief. 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.