There’s a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From

$$ / Order
charles cover

“A sneakily disturbing, disarmingly profound, casually devastating memoir, taut and adept, that cracked me up even at its saddest moments, and broke my heart almost without my quite noticing.”
— Michael Chabon

"This is the book I can't forget...Full of insightful, transcendent regular-guy moments and bad decisions, it didn't make me like the author, but it knocked me on my ass."
— Library Journal (starred review)

With ease and humor, Bryan Charles does what all writers aspire to do: he shows us the familiar in a whole new way. His beautiful, often painful, honesty makes the inside of his head a fascinating place to be.”
— Rachel Sherman,
author of The First Hurt and Living Room

"Bryan Charles, in There's a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From, his potent, touching, slow burn of a memoir, plays a role straight out of the E.B. White Third New York Central Casting Agency, that of the 'boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart.' In Charles's case it is a 25-hour train ride from Kalamazoo to Penn Station, where he arrives in October 1998 with "two bags of clothes and a banker's box full of papers." A girl-crazy, middle-class college grad who finds solace in indie rock, Charles, the author of a novel (Grab on to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way) and a short book about Pavement's album Wowee Zowee, aches to make his mark in the literary world and support himself while doing it."
— Daniel Nester, Bookforum (read the full review here)

Selected by Michael Chabon for Wall Street Journal's Great Writing List

Black Book's Top Ten Book of 2010

One of
Library Journal's top ten nonfiction books of 2010

There's a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From is the memoir of a young Midwestern man struggling to carve out a life as a writer, and to find meaning, or at least a job, in his new and alien landscape of New York City. In a voice at once coolly detached and utterly confident, we follow Bryan Charles's journey navigating love, work, and family, from the streets of Manhattan to the upper floors of corporate America. This is a gripping meditation on the self, ricocheting between the multitudes and solitude, and between the industrial-turned-residential spaces of Brooklyn and the towers of the World Trade Center, where his life takes an unexpected turn. Charles's story is a spare, honest, and often hilarious narrative of expectation and loss, and of the ordinary becoming the extraordinary.

Bryan Charles was born in 1974 and raised in Galesburg, Michigan. He is the author of the novel Grab on to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way and Wowee Zowee, a book about the band Pavement.

Author's Site
Read an excerpt at HTMLGiant

There's a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From:
A Memoir by Bryan Charles

Paperback original publication date: November 16, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-890447-57-1• $14.00• Distributed by Publishers Group West
Contact: Joanna Yas, 212.625.9048,

Book Tour

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Open City KGB Reading Series
85 East 4th Street
New York, NY
reading with Ed Park

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Kalamazoo Public Library
315 South Rose Street
Kalamazoo, MI

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
BookCourt, reading and wine reception
163 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Diesel Bookstore
5433 College Ave
Oakland, CA