Some Hell

Literary Fiction

by Patrick Nathan
February 2018 – Graywolf Press

An emotionally resonant debut novel that reckons with grief, loss, and identity, set in the Midwest. 

SOME HELL is a coming of age novel that is also an intense reckoning with grief and loss, as Colin and his mother try to cope with life after Colin’s father, Alan, commits suicide. Colin feels responsible and at the same time is coming to terms with his own sexual identity; it’s not easy being gay in high school. His mother, Diane, has been seeing a therapist, but that hasn’t helped her handle Colin’s rebellious older sister, or his autistic brother. For both Colin and Diane, a series of notebooks Alan left behind that are filled with fragments of odd research are the only way they have to understand the new shape of their lives. SOME HELL is shot through with guilt and shame, as well as a great deal of depth of feeling in the portrayal of Colin.

Patrick Nathan‘s writing has appeared in Boulevard Magazine, LA Review of Books3:AM Magazine and The Rumpus. This is his first novel.


“In the opening pages, Nathan’s evil-soaked novel about an adolescent grappling with his father’s suicide and his own sexuality reads like a tragic coming-of-age tale. Then it peels that mask off like a replicant to reveal the more sinister creature beneath, an especially dark family story.” —The New York Times, “11 New Books We Recommend This Week” (Feb 15, 2018)

“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 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

“[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

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

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

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