Show Up, Look Good

Mark Wisniewski

Finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for General Fiction - 2011

A jilted woman moves to Manhattan and builds a relationship with an elderly, mute former New York Yankee helps her accept her innocence in her mother's death and admit her complicity in an outbreak of disturbing secret crimes.

"“Wisniewski: a riotously original voice.” —Jonathan Lethem


“Mark Wisniewski’s prose is incisive and crisp, bracing and in the best sense destructive, like a straight shot of excellent gin. Part Carson McCullers, part Truman Capote, part Elmore Leonard, Show Up, Look Good is ultimately a highly original, entertaining, and disturbing read, accurate but precisely off-center. Just when you think you know how it moves, it proves you wrong, and you’re delighted. Wisniewski is that crafty a craftsman, that intelligent a writer.” —T. R. Hummer, author of Walt Whitman in Hell


Forget My Sister Eileen. With wit and insight, Wisniewski shows what really happens when a resourceful, optimistic, upbeat young woman from the Midwest comes to Manhattan to make it. —Molly Giles, author of Rough Translations, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction


With equal parts rue and satire, Mark Wisniewski’s thirty-four-year-old Midwestern heroine, Michelle, flees love gone wrong at home to start over with nerve and independence in Manhattan. Her picaresque misadventures and her encounters with characters odd, pretentious, and menacing prove as haunting as Holden Caulfield’s. —DeWitt Henry, author of Sweet Dreams, founding editor of Ploughshares


“Show Up, Look Good is a rare, gleaming gem: as soon as I turned the final page, I felt bereft because I didn’t want it to end. Wisniewski has a poet’s heart, a jester’s wit, and a comedian’s dead-on timing. This is a novel to savor.” —Christine Sneed, author of Portraits of a Few People I’ve Made Cry, winner of The Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction


“This novel about a thirty-something woman who travels from Kankakee, Illinois, to New York to ‘make it’ deepens in unexpected and moving ways. Wisniewski ventriloquizes with perfect pitch his female narrator, who has a real talent for getting into trouble. Show Up, Look Good is funny, dark, poignant, and unsettling.” —Kelly Cherry, author of We Can Still Be Friends


“Show Up, Look Good is a rollicking, laugh-out-loud romp of a novel, a picaresque spin through fin-de-siecle New York as seen through the eyes of its intrepid, Midwestern-born heroine. Love, loneliness, roommates from hell, hipsters, the mob, and murder all play starring roles in this delightful book, and Wisniewski does justice to them all.” —Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara


“In Show Up, Look Good Mark Wisniewski demonstrates again why he is one of the most versatile, entertaining, and accomplished writers of his generation.” —Richard Burgin, author of Rivers Last Longer and The Identity Club: New and Selected Stories and Editor, Boulevard


“There’s good writing, and then there’s kick-ass writing, and Mark Wisniewski’s storytelling is absolutely kick-ass. I wanted to jump up and down.” —Katherine Center, author of Everyone Is Beautiful and Bright Side of Disaster


"Show Up, Look Good made me laugh out loud at both Wisniewski's sharp wit and the narrator's propensity for making the mess of her life messier. It's a page-turner, a thrill, and a dark love song to New York City. What a terrific novel." —Diana Spechler, author of Who By Fire and Skinny


"You’re a slave to Manhattan even if the cost of living drives you out to Queens. Incongruities like that, nutty and yet right-on, delight us in every scene of Mark Wisniewski’s Show Up, Look Good. A witty and original take on New York swing, this novel can both analyze an urban tribe as smartly as Richard Price and threaten murder with the offhand aplomb of Jonathan Lethem. The fresh face in the urban canyons has rarely glowed with such laughter and astonishment, even as it earns the bloody smears of a warrior." — John Domini, author of A Tomb on the Periphery


Mark Wisniewski

Mark Wisniewski is the author of the novel Confessions of a Polish Used Car Salesman, the collection of short stories All Weekend with the Lights On, and the book of poems One of Us One Night. His fiction has appeared in magazines such as Virginia Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, TriQuarterly, The Missouri Review, The Sun, and The Georgia Review, and has been anthologized in Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories. He has held two Regents' Fellowships form the University of California and won an Isherwood Fellowship, a Tobias Wolff Award, a Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story, and a Gival Press Short Story Award.