Soon You'll Be Able to Read Sean Penn's Novel About a 'Divorced, Disillusioned Man'

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Like so many journalists before him, Sean Penn is writing a novel.

Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books announced on Monday that it will publish Penn’s work of fiction, which, USA Today reports, is a “revised and expanded version” of an audiobook he narrated under the pseudonym Pappy Pariah. I’m tempted to write “you can’t make this stuff up,” but, oh yeah, Sean Penn made this stuff up.

The “darkly humorous novel” will reportedly unravel the mystery of Pariah. Also, the book is about a “middle-aged, divorced, disillusioned man living in a nondescript house on a nondescript street in Woodview, Calif.” The book’s protagonist, who may or not be Pariah (I’m not trying to be coy, I just can’t tell from the news reports), is “a man of many trades—sewage specialist, purveyor of pyrotechnics, contract killer for a mysterious government agency that pays in small bills.” I don’t dislike the premise, but it’s clearly bad. It just raises the wrong kinds of questions, you know? Like, is the protagonist’s house “nondescript” because it is literally featureless, or has the author merely failed to proffer a description? Why are the bills small?

Plus, the novel has the worst title, and I do not say this lightly. It’s called Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. That’s the name of Penn’s book. Even a Hunter S. Thompson random sentence generator wouldn’t dare.


On the bright side, if the novel does well, maybe they’ll make an audiobook out of it—then it would, like, come full circle. The novel is slated to be released March 27, 2018.

contributing writer, nights

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Curious Squid

I appreciate this breath of fresh air. The woes of middle aged disillusioned men are a frankly underexplored theme in literature and film. I look forward to what will doubtless be a unique insight into this marginalised perspective.