“Sad, happy, funny, sad," Gabriel Bump said when asked to describe his new novel, "The New Naturals."
Bump began the press tour for his second published book on Tuesday at Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews on Franklin Street.
While the central premise of the book follows a pair of professors who experience a terrible tragedy and build an underground utopia in the rural mountains of western Massachusetts, its complex themes go beyond that.
“It’s less about the functions of what a different society would be, like the of day to day of it, and it's more about what drives people to go seek out something like that, to go seek refuge from the world,” Bump said. “Like, what kind of despair are they feeling in their personal life that makes them want to remove themselves from the world?”
The story is rooted in a personal experience that Bump had after his graduating with his Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“I was just feeling kind of lost in western Massachusetts, just really unhappy,” Bump said. “And so I decided to try and work through that unhappiness.”
"The New Naturals" centers around six main characters and features each of their perspectives throughout the book.
Bump said his writing process for this novel started by working with one of the characters. He continued that pattern as he crafted new characters in an effort to figure out what happiness looked like for each.