Drew Silver is an aging rocker. It’s not as great as it sounds. It would be far more glamorous if the frontman of his band, The Bent Daisies, hadn’t opted for a solo career many years before. Now depressed and disillusioned Silver finds himself drumming the Bar Mitzvah circuit with other downtrodden musicians of varying levels of ability. At least he has the comfort of a loving family? No, I’m afraid not.
A messy separation sees Silver living alone in The Versailles, a complex seemingly inhabited solely by separated or divorced men. His ex-wife, Denise, and their teenage daughter, Casey, are merely casual fixtures in Silver’s life.
That is until Silver is unexpectedly diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, following the emphatic character Casey’s announcement of her unplanned pregnancy. Suddenly Silver finds himself reassessing his priorities; hence the title of Tropper’s sixth novel.
Fellow Versailles residents and ex-family men, Oliver and Jack, assist in re-examining Silver’s somewhat questionable life choices thus far. Together the trio makes for a desperate and crude bunch. Or so it seems until Tropper’s narrative unfolds and we start to see a softer and more vulnerable side to the men as Silver’s predicament causes each to reconsider their own relationships. A special mention goes to the depiction of Silver and Casey’s fragile but heartfelt attempts to reconnect.
In fact, it is the element that saves Silver from being a completely unlikable and irritating protagonist and thus elevating Tropper’s novel from mediocre to memorable.