Combining existential noir and absurd comedy, this daring novel explores art's role in self-knowledge as it follows Stanley, a young man, from Chicago to Prague. There he takes part in a potentially dangerous performance art project orchestrated by his exploitative uncle Lech. Stanley can take it. He can ignore the high jinks, resist being drafted into Lech’s evolving, darkening script. As the operation unfolds it becomes clear there’s more to this performance than he expected; Lech’s band of collaborators know more about Stanley’s state of mind than he knows himself. He may be able to step over chalk outlines in the hallway, may be able to turn away from the women acting as his mother or the men performing as his father, but when a man made up to look like Stanley begins to play out his most devastating memory, he won’t be able to stand outside this imitation of his life any longer. Written as a series of scenes, some as quick as a thought, Scapellato’s The Made-Up Man keeps moving apace while immersing readers in Stanley's experience.
Alexandra Kleeman raves, “This bold, hilarious, and playfully absurd novel asks the biggest questions out there, but does it with such shrewd grace and charming lightness that you won’t feel the existential weight until it’s already crashed down upon your head."
Joseph Scapellato published his debut story collection, Big Lonesome, in 2017. He earned his MFA in fiction at New Mexico State University and has been published in The Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, Post Road, PANK, UNSAID, and other literary magazines. His work has been anthologized in Forty Stories, Gigantic Worlds, and The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing. Scapellato is an assistant professor of English in the creative writing program at Bucknell University. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Joseph Salvatore is the author of the story collection To Assume A Pleasing Shape, published by BOA Editions in 2011; and the co-author of the college textbook Understanding English Grammar, from Pearson in 2015. A Spanish translation of his story collection, Presentarse En Forma Grata, was published in 2018 by Editorial Dos Bigotes. He is the Books Editor at The Brooklyn Rail and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Sunday Book Review. His fiction has appeared in, among other places, The Collagist, Dossier, Epiphany, New York Tyrant, Open City, Post Road, Salt Hill, Sleeping Fish, and Willow Springs. His criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times; Rain Taxi; the Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture; Angels of the Americlypse: an Anthology of New Latin@ Writing; and the Believer Logger and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of writing at The New School, in New York City, where he received the University Distinguished Teaching Award, and was the founding editor of the literary journal LIT. He lives in Queens.