Sean Penn, the celebrated actor and activist, will release his debut novel next year, a “darkly humurous” tale titled “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.”
Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” in March 2018. The novel is based on an audiobook Penn released last year under the pseudonym Pappy Pariah.
According to a news release from Atria, the novel “tells the picaresque story of Bob Honey, a middle-aged, divorced, disillusioned man living in a nondescript house on a nondescript street in Woodview,California.”
The titular Honey works as a sewage specialist, but also as a “contract killer for a mysterious government agency that pays in small bills,” Atria said.
Penn released an audiobook in 2016, also called “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” but at the time denied he was the author. He claimed it was written by Pappy Pariah, a man he had met at a bar in Key West, Fla., in 1979.
Penn performed a live reading from the book at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last year. Entertainment Weekly described the event as “surreal,” writing, “Any audience member who believed Penn when he said he wasn’t Pariah was likely second-guessing that notion when, late in the reading, the fictional story shifted to a political landscape — the mentions all part of the zeitgeist.”
In the news release, Penn copped to being the author of the audiobook, saying, “It was soon after I finished narrating the short audio of ‘Bob Honey’ that I began to feel I had only scratched the surface of this story I wanted to tell. Expanding that original idea into a fully-realized novel has been an exciting challenge ...”
“Bob Honey” will be the first novel from Penn, who won Academy Awards for his roles in the films “Mystic River” and “Milk.” His next performance will be as a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary in a film adaptation of Simon Winchester's “The Professor and the Madman.”