Some Hell

Some Hell
A Novel
Patrick Nathan

“The result is a very different literary thriller, one in which the mystery is not who killed the victim, but how those who kill might live with what they’ve done. . . . Some Hell becomes a canny and terrifying moral fable about our new and old American ways of both being together and missing each other.”The New York Times Book Review

“A heartbreaker of a book, Patrick Nathan’s debut novel captures the hell of adolescence under particularly dire circumstances.”Esquire

About the Book

A wrenching and layered debut novel about a gay teen’s coming of age in the aftermath of his father’s suicide
Middle school hasn’t been going well for Colin. His teenage sister teases him mercilessly, his autistic brother lashes out at him, and he has a crush on his best friend, Andy. But after the tragic night when his father commits suicide, none of that matters. Diane, his mother, seeks solace in therapy. Colin is awash in guilt, and casts about for someone to confide in: first his estranged grandfather, then a predatory science teacher. But nothing helps as much as the strange writing his father kept in a series of notebooks locked in his study. Colin looks for answers there—in fragments about disaster scenarios, the violence of snow, mustangs running wild in the west—but instead finds the writing infecting his worldview. Diane, meanwhile, has a miserable fling with a coworker, and leans more heavily on Colin for support as things go from bad to worse. But spring is unfolding, and a road trip to Los Angeles gives them a tantalizing glimpse of what the future might hold. In Some Hell, a debut novel of devastating intensity and aching, pointillistic detail, Patrick Nathan shows how unspeakable tragedy shapes a life, and how imagination saves us from ourselves.

Additional Reviews

“As a meditation on grief and its aftermath, ‘Some Hell’ is sensitive, incisive and often heartbreaking.”Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“A gripping account of the intricately woven mind of a teenager. . . . Nathan has crafted an all-consuming novel in which topics like suicide, homosexuality, parenting, friendship, and psychology make up a precarious tableau in which readers can leave their own subjectivity behind and experience the world from Colin’s singular viewpoint. . . . A magnetic first novel combining wit, sex, and apocalyptic reverie.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Readers will find moments of beauty in the rawness of grief’s confusions and yearning.”Publishers Weekly

“Orphic and original. . . . Each sentence of this dark Bildungsroman—obsessed with the intertwined logics of desire, disaster, and death—kept me enthralled.”—Nathan Goldman, Literary Hub

“[Patrick Nathan] does a masterful job of creating believable, multidimensional characters about whom the reader cares desperately. . . . Nathan’s first novel is beautifully done and promises to linger in the reader’s memory.”Booklist, starred review

Some Hell is as sharp and merciless a coming-of-age story as has yet to appear in 2018. . . . Some Hell is a strangely quiet book and an indomitably brave one.”Open Letters Review

“With a burning clarity and calm intelligence that evoke another great midwestern fatalist, William Maxwell, Patrick Nathan offers a shocking tale of loss and not-quite renewal. Haunted by suicide, haunted by sex—those twin phantoms that stalk us all—Some Hell is startlingly propulsive, utterly enveloping, and a genuine revelation.”—Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine

Some Hell is an enthralling family saga that layers the slapstick giddiness of adolescence and sexual questing with a seething darkness. This is exactly the recipe for growing up with trauma.”—David Treuer, author of Prudence

“This gorgeous, shape-shifting novel dares to address the burden of becoming. Nathan is a true talent, evoking the intensity of adolescence and the gut-punch we feel when reality comes bearing down on us. An important work for these turbulent times.”—Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

“Though it doesn’t trumpet its hybridity, Some Hell is a dark but tender work of domestic realism that makes room for antinovel collage, a high-stakes page-turner that doubles as an extended essay on Eros and Thanatos. Patrick Nathan writes with serious magnanimity equal to anxious times.”—Dylan Hicks

“There’s nothing metaphysical about the hell Patrick Nathan takes us to in this brave and harrowing novel. It’s the hell we make for one another, out of silence and grief and desire, a hell whose necessary precondition is love.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You