From legendary actor and activist Sean Penn comes a scorching, “charmingly weird” (Booklist, starred review) 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 United States intelligence that targets the elderly, the infirm, and others who drain 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 startling images and painted “with a broadly satirical, Vonnegut-ian brush” (Kirkus Reviews), Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff is one of the year's most controversial and talked about literary works.
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff STATION ONE SEEKING HOMEOSTASIS IN INHERENT HYPOCRISY
Cactus Fields, a Low-Cost Home for Assisted Senior Living, looms like a large khaki-colored brick isolated against a backdrop of distant ambient light. Its draped windows and solitary silhouette sit in a seemingly endless desert tableau. Here it seems that the desert itself has been deserted.
And there they are, the brand-less beasts of yesteryear. Moist, sagging eyes, illuminated by the rarefied strobe of a passing car on the interstate. Behind the windows of the beige stucco building that sits behind a dilapidated, sporadically visited parking lot where brown weeds burst through fissures in the pavement, eight senior residents have been awakened by the power cut. They huddle side by side in plastic chairs. Portraiture of sagging faces falling in and out of indelicate light and shadow. Theirs, a blotchy batch of colorless dermal masks. That last life spark extracted from their oblivion, a reckoning of their uselessness in a world where branding is being. Bound by brutal boredom. Then . . .
POP! POP! POP!
A chosen three down.
The elderly are being executed by a talented blunt force.
Gloved hands reconnect wires in a power box out back. Eight now reduced to five whose day will come. A dull white Pontiac ignites its engine, rolls over the fissures of weed onto the interstate and under its driver’s breath, “It wasn’t me.”
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.
“Charmingly weird…Penn takes on an ambitious challenge here, and he succeeds spectacularly. Bob is a wonderful character, the kind of guy you can’t take your eyes off… that’s part of the book’s almost immeasurable charm.”
– Booklist (starred review)
“Penn paints with a broadly satirical, Vonnegut-ian brush. . . . he gives nods (by way of sly footnotes) to the likes of David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon. . . . It’s good fun [and] a provocative debut.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“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
“Before I started reading, I glanced over the table of contents. The first chapter is called ‘Seeking Homeostasis in Inherent Hypocrisy.’ I rolled my eyes and said aloud to no one, “fuuuck you.” Then, I read it, and it turns out it’s a goddamned novel for the ages. A straight-up masterwork, more relevant to this very moment than anything I’ve seen. Tom Robbins, Mark Twain, E.E. Cummings and Billy Bragg all just came in Chuck Bukowski’s pants. Whether it’s your cuppa tea is something I cannot know. But sweet Jesus it was mine.”