Tuesday, January 12, 2021



Publisher : Algonquin Books (January 12, 2021)
Language: : English
Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643750852

In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth: childhood friendships, basketball tryouts, first love, first heartbreak, picking a college, moving away from home.

Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights–era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America.

Percolating with fierceness and originality, attuned to the ironies inherent in our twenty-first-century landscape, Everywhere You Don’t Belong marks the arrival of a brilliant young talent.


EVERYWHERE YOU DON'T BELONG by debut author Gabriel Bump is a phenomenal story that I read in one sitting. It's funny, it's real, it's witty, it's brilliant, it's a great quick read. The story is about the life story and experience of Claude Mckay Love who grew up in the South Side of Chicago. He was raised by his grandmother and her friend Paul after his parents end up abandoning him as a young child. The stories within the chapters are Calude's personal experience as he sees the world growing up as a young black man trying to escape the South Side after the riots. Claude eventually moves to Missouri for college and no matter his escape, he finds himself dealing with the same issues - complete irony for a black man living the life in twenty-first-century America.

I found this book to be well written and an anthem for our youth, and for anyone feeling the need to belong, or had ever experienced a sense of alienation and abandonment. This is a book that will feel like a friend that just completely understands and laughs along side you.

Well done! I highly recommend.


The New York Times: “100 Notable Books of 2020”

Chicago Public Library: “Best of the Best Books of 2020”

Buzzfeed: “These Are Our Most Highly Anticipated Books Of 2020”

Chicago Tribune: “10 Books to Read in Winter 2020!”

The Millions: “Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2020 Book Preview”

Library Journal: “2020 Titles to Watch: Your guide to the year's most anticipated books”

“A comically dark coming-of-age story about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, but it’s also social commentary at its finest, woven seamlessly into the work… Bump’s meditation on belonging and not belonging, where or with whom, how love is a way home no matter where you are, is handled so beautifully that you don’t know he’s hypnotized you until he’s done.”

—Tommy Orange, The New York Times Book Review

“A witty coming-of-age tale … Bump’s first book manages to be both crazy funny – and deadly serious.”


“This book is astonishing. You'll be smiling even as your heart is breaking, and you'll tip willingly into this world Bump offers you because what appears again and again are spectacular beams of light, also called love, also called hope, also called family. Gabriel Bump has established himself as a stunning talent to be reckoned with.”

—Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

“Briskly paced… Bump makes his novel debut with hilarious yet ruthless insight. He mixes his observations of the systemic racism and cycle of unrest with the ridiculousness of and unrelenting affection for human nature. There is no time for hand-wringing or self-pity, but even amidst the injustice and fight for survival, there's time for human contact and love.”


Everywhere You Don’t Belong is “classic bildungsroman, made better by a lot of love for warts-and-all Chicago, and I see dashes of Percival Everett in Bump’s deadpan, how his characters cross the stage with a sashay (and sometimes more). Welcome, Claude! We’re glad you’re here.”

—The Paris Review Daily (Staff Pick)

“A charming wit infuses Bump’s debut novel… Bump’s coming-of-age narrative is propelled by wonderful vignettes with uncannily real dialogue marked by his beguiling humor and insight.”

—The National Book Review

“[A] pointedly affecting debut novel… With deft writing and rat-a-tat, laugh-until-you-gasp-at-the-implications dialog, Bump delivers a singular sense of growing up black that will resonate with readers.”

—Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Astute and touching… Bump balances his heavy subject matter with a healthy dose of humor, but the highlight is Claude, a complex, fully developed protagonist who anchors everything. Readers will be moved in following his path to young adulthood.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Everywhere You Don’t Belong is an excellent coming-of-age novel that will make you laugh when you least expect it.”
—Shelf Awareness

“A sharply funny debut novel that introduces an irreverent comic voice… By telling it in short vignettes rather than a traditional narrative, [Bump] creates striking images and memorable dialogue that vibrate with the life of Chicago's South Side…Genuinely hilarious…distinct and funny…[and] abundant in laughs.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Bump’s first novel is a clipped and penetrating look at adolescent hope in the face of powerful social forces.”


“Sometimes you open a book and you know from the very first page, this thing's alive. You know what I mean? (How often does this not happen? You open a book and it’s just a book?) Gabriel Bump's Everywhere You Don't Belong's got a racing pulse, and a beautiful propulsion, a ton of humor, wonderful dialogue, deep characterization, and cold-eyed-truth.”

—Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others

“An affecting story told in brisk, sometimes witty language with dialog that positively snaps, crackles, and pops off the page.”

—Library Journal (Pre-Pub Alert)

“This coming-of-age story, which ends on a surprisingly solid note, needs Claude to align his past and his future. Even though the violence and brutality of his childhood reappear, so does the familiarity of love.”


“In Everywhere You Don’t Belong, Gabriel Bump completely, beautifully, and energetically illuminates the heretofore unrecognized lines connecting Ellison's Invisible Man to Johnson's Jesus’ Son. This is a startling, original, and hilarious book. I look forward to reading it again.”

—Adam Levin, author of The Instructions

“[A] spiraling coming-of-age tale about abandonment and perseverance. …sparks with originality…The ripped from the headlines plot of Everywhere You Don’t Belong draws instant interest.”

—Foreword Reviews

"A brilliant and harrowing debut.”

—Noy Holland, author of Bird

"Some works you read them and you sense that you will never quite engage life as you did before. Bump is a storyteller at the top of his game, testifying through characters we love and hate, with dialogue so lean, mean and ready, its explosive. Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a literary blues, raw and rowdy and big and brawling, yet smooth and polished and crafty, a novel that a city like Chicago deserves. Gabriel has achieved here that special confluence of the writer, the craft, and the moment that makes art we cannot afford to ignore, especially at this moment.”

—Arthur Flowers, author of Another Good Loving Blues and I See the Promised Land

“One solace for living in dark times is they conjure singular new artists like Gabriel Bump whose visions may shepherd us into the light. Everywhere You Don't Belong is a startlingly powerful novel, an unusual concentration of opposing forces—blind rage vs. empathy, comedy vs. tragedy, despair vs. hope—that resists every label it evokes: picaresque, bildungsroman, generational family saga, political novel, comic novel, love story. It’s all of those things at once and much more—an instant American classic for the post-Ferguson/Trump era.”

—Jeff Parker, author of Ovenman

“Bump’s vivid depiction of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood gives readers a feel for the world of young Claude McKay Love…Thoughtful, political and surprisingly funny. Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a powerful debut from a promising new voice in fiction.”

—News-Gazette [Champaign, IL]

“Bump writes about the evolution of Claude and Janice with a thoughtfulness captured in clear, and sometimes very short sentences, which may be a nod to Bump’s interest in Stuart Dybek. Bump also captures a deep sense of loss as he documents the stories of Claude’s classmates and friends.”

—New City Lit

“Bump’s prose is tight and clean, a pleasure to read…The characters come to life not through adjectives, but through their dialogue…Bump’s sentences sizzle with perfectly timed humor and interiority. The novel makes you laugh out loud, but also nod at its poignancy on issues of class and racism. Of all the novel’s virtues, its biggest achievement might be the way it confronts a common narrative of the South Side experience while giving voice to a greater and more universal experience — the spectacular average.”

—Chicago Review of Books

Gabriel Bump is from South Shore, Chicago. He received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Gabriel’s first two novels—Everywhere You Don’t Belong and The New Naturals—are forthcoming from Algonquin Books.

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