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As Some Hell unfolded, I couldn't stop triggering my own reader savior complex, imagining how I might rescue the novel's family members who are drowning in myopia and self-loathing. There's a depressed father we only get to know through his notebooks, a bitchy teenage daughter and a severely autistic middle child who are both out of reach and out of control, and mother Diane and fourteen year old gay son Colin. Diane and Colin are wracked with survivor guilt and struggling for love and a lifeline. They embark on a road trip from the Midwest to California, hoping to leave their heartbreak behind them. A powerful debut coming-of-age novel whose shocking ending will haunt you.
“The teen years are difficult for most young people, but 14-year-old Colin is having a particularly devastating experience. In the aftermath of his father's suicide and an epic betrayal by his best friend, Colin tries to come to terms with his budding sexuality and his role in the new dynamics of his troubled family. His father's diaries and a road trip with his mother open new horizons for Colin as he attempts to find his place in an uncertain future. Author Patrick Nathan takes a brutally honest look at coming of age in the wake of tragedy. Prepare for an unflinching look at the life of the modern family in this stunning debut by a talented and fresh voice in fiction.”
— Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
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 co-worker, 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.