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Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
Cover of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
A Novel
by Sean Penn
Borrow Borrow
"It seems wrong to say that so dystopian a novel is great fun to read, but it's true. I suspect that Thomas Pynchon and Hunter S. Thompson would love this book." —Salman Rushdie

From legendary actor and activist Sean Penn comes a scorching, darkly funny novel about Bob Honey—a modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin.
Bob Honey has a hard time connecting with other people, especially since his divorce. He's tired of being marketed to every moment, sick of a world where even an orgasm isn't real until it is turned into a tweet. A paragon of old-fashioned American entrepreneurship, Bob sells septic tanks to Jehovah's Witnesses and arranges pyrotechnic displays for foreign dictators. He's also a contract killer for an off-the-books program run by a branch of US intelligence that targets the elderly, the infirm, and others who drain this consumption-driven society of its resources.

When a nosy journalist starts asking questions, Bob can't decide if it's a chance to form some sort of new friendship or the beginning of the end for him. With treason on everyone's lips, terrorism in everyone's sights, and American political life sinking to ever-lower standards, Bob decides it's time to make a change—if he doesn't get killed by his mysterious controllers or exposed in the rapacious media first.

A thunderbolt of provocative words and startling images, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff marks the fiction debut of one of America's most acclaimed artists.
"It seems wrong to say that so dystopian a novel is great fun to read, but it's true. I suspect that Thomas Pynchon and Hunter S. Thompson would love this book." —Salman Rushdie

From legendary actor and activist Sean Penn comes a scorching, darkly funny novel about Bob Honey—a modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin.
Bob Honey has a hard time connecting with other people, especially since his divorce. He's tired of being marketed to every moment, sick of a world where even an orgasm isn't real until it is turned into a tweet. A paragon of old-fashioned American entrepreneurship, Bob sells septic tanks to Jehovah's Witnesses and arranges pyrotechnic displays for foreign dictators. He's also a contract killer for an off-the-books program run by a branch of US intelligence that targets the elderly, the infirm, and others who drain this consumption-driven society of its resources.

When a nosy journalist starts asking questions, Bob can't decide if it's a chance to form some sort of new friendship or the beginning of the end for him. With treason on everyone's lips, terrorism in everyone's sights, and American political life sinking to ever-lower standards, Bob decides it's time to make a change—if he doesn't get killed by his mysterious controllers or exposed in the rapacious media first.

A thunderbolt of provocative words and startling images, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff marks the fiction debut of one of America's most acclaimed artists.
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About the Author-
  • Sean Penn won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performances in Mystic River and Milk, and received Academy Award nominations as Best Actor for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, and I Am Sam. He has worked as an actor, writer, producer, and director on over one hundred theater and film productions. His journalism has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, and HuffPo. This is his first novel.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 2, 2018
    Actor Penn creates quite an iconoclast in his wacky first novel, an expanded revision of an audiobook he narrated and wrote under the pseudonym of Pappy Pariah in 2016. Bob Honey has been in the waste business for years and ends up as a hit man wasting humans. The divorced, middle-aged, California burb-based loner exhibits bizarre behavior (wrapping wire around his house, mowing his long-neglected lawn at three in the morning) that has garnered police blotter citations over the years. With a successful septic-tank pumping business, Honey goes international, ending up in Baghdad, where he is kidnapped and recruited by an underworld king called “Loodstar” for a ludicrous plan to knock off American senior citizens, under the guise of improving the environment. Bob foments chaos wherever he goes, his convoluted, alliterative commentary flying by (“the maintenance of femininity cannot be measured by masquerade, masculinization, or marvels man-made”) as Honey summarily knocks off seniors with his trusty mallet and takes potshots at his ex-wife, the film industry, U.S. corporate skullduggery in the Mideast, and American society in general—not to mention his final diatribe against the current president. Penn pushes the envelope of absurdity, but many readers won’t be able to get past the self-indulgent prose.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2018
    Noted actor and director Penn tries his hand at fiction and pulls it off reasonably well.There's not much clef in Penn's debut roman, although his protagonist, the titular Bob Honey, does log a little time visiting New Orleans after Katrina and fulminating about the sad state of the world. Bob, "God's squared-away man," is a pronounced nuisance around his California neighborhood, the kind of fellow whom the neighbors are always ratting out to the constabulary, a report from whom reads, "Neighbors complain of excessive lawn mower noise--0300 hours. When patrol arrived at scene, all was quiet. Scent of fresh cut grass permeating the air." Divorced, creatively spiteful, Bob pursues the oddest of career trajectories, selling septic tank systems here, working angles there to "explore opportunities in the waste management sector" in Baghdad right after the U.S. invasion. Oh, and to boot, Bob isn't above scratching out a few bucks by executing oldsters whose only crime is drawing down the social welfare coffers, "a reckoning of their uselessness in a world where branding is being." Things get more tangled from there. Penn paints with a broadly satirical, Vonnegut-ian brush throughout, though as this slender story progresses, he gives nods (by way of sly footnotes) to the likes of David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon. That story is sometimes too absurd, sometimes too labored; on encountering sentences like "But as the music and its pulse rose, Bob began to follow, finally finding the spastic gesticulations that would purge his pond of pirates," the reader might be forgiven for wondering if Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High had not somehow found his way to a wayward thesaurus, a suspicion that won't abate when the alliteration comes faster and thicker ("rarified resins liquefied during a life languishing unloved") as Bob's life becomes ever more unmoored. Still, it's good fun, and as a bonus, Donald Trump gets a nice drubbing, too.A provocative debut. Not entirely successful, but James Franco and B.J. Novak better watch their backs.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A Novel
Sean Penn
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