AUTHOR of "Big Lonesome" & "The Made-Up Man"


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Reinventing a great American tradition through an absurdist, discerning eye, Joseph Scapellato uses these twenty-five stories to conjure worlds, themes, and characters who are at once unquestionably familiar and undeniably strange. Big Lonesome navigates through the American West—from the Old West to the modern-day West to the Midwest, from cowboys to mythical creatures to everything in between—exploring place, myth, masculinity, and what it means to be whole or to be broken.

Though he works in the tradition of George Saunders and Patrick deWitt—writing subversive, surreal, and affecting stories that unveil the surprising inner lives of ordinary people and the mythic dimensions of our everyday lives—"Scapellato’s Big Lonesome is unlike anything else you’ve ever read" (Robert Boswell).

A stunningly original voice—warm, bleak, dark, ecstatic, full of silences and power and life. This collection will stay with me for good, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting Scapellato’s next book.
— Charles Yu, author of Sorry Please Thank You

In his brilliant, heartbreaking debut story collection, Big Lonesome, Joseph Scapellato offers up the only kind of cowboy I hunger for: mythic and flawed and nameless and timeless and horribly, unsettlingly modern.
These stories are fantastic.
— Manuel Gonzales, author of The Regional Office is Under Attack!

The range of virtuosity that Joseph Scapellato displays in Big Lonesome is simply astonishing. You want dazzling wordplay? It’s here. You want the Old West and the New West, and tales that make myths, break myths, and mock myths? They’re here. You want straightforward, realistic fiction in the form of a heart-breaking death-of-love story? Here. A desert race-for-life adventure? Here. So cinch your saddle tight and keep a firm hold on the reins—
Big Lonesome is a hell of a ride.
— Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948

If this is what the future sounds like, we have something to celebrate, after all. Joseph Scapellato’s Big Lonesome is quick and sharp and funny and unlike anything else you’ve ever read.
— Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown, Mystery Ride, Crooked Hearts, & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards

Joseph Scapellato’s Big Lonesome is an accomplished debut, a collection of tall tales and campfire stories that create a Wild West unlike any other. With a voice like Barry Hannah channeling Larry McMurtry, Scapellato has updated the cowboy—one of the great American protagonists—into a newly complex, audacious, and utterly contemporary character.
— Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

The stories in Joseph Scapellato’s Big Lonesome are terrifically funny and haunting accounts of people shedding their self-mythologizing ways. On this open range of wrecked memories and dreamscapes, the characters come to terms with their own experiences of pure truth and poisonous truth and humanizing and debasing shame and dirty love and duty love. They learn to live with the many old lonesomenesses dying in them and the new ones trying but failing to kill them. You know that one marvelous tale that has never left you since you first heard it, the one that makes you laugh-cough bloody glass and bright stars every time it comes to your mind? Joseph Scapellato’s brilliant Big Lonesome offers you twenty-five of them!
— Kevin McIlvoy, author of Little Peg, Hyssop, and The Complete History of New Mexico and Other Stories