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Nothing Special

Nothing Special

Current price: $26.99
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN:
9781635574319
Pages:
240
Still North Books & Bar
1 on hand, as of Mar 3 2:12pm
On Our Shelves Now

Description

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORKER AND TIME

From the author Sally Rooney called “bold, irreverent, and agonizingly funny,” a wildly original coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl working at Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1960s New York.

New York City, 1966. Seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a rundown apartment with her alcoholic mother and her mother’s sometimes-boyfriend, Mikey. She is turned off by the petty girls at her high school, and the sleazy men she typically meets. When she drops out, she is presented with a job offer that will remake her world entirely: she is hired as a typist for the artist Andy Warhol.

Warhol is composing an unconventional novel by recording the conversations and experiences of his many famous and alluring friends. Tasked with transcribing these tapes alongside several other girls, Mae quickly befriends Shelley and the two of them embark on a surreal adventure at the fringes of the countercultural movement. Going to parties together, exploring their womanhood and sexuality, this should be the most enlivening experience of Mae’s life. But as she grows increasingly obsessed with the tapes and numb to her own reality, Mae must grapple with the thin line between art and voyeurism and determine how she can remain her own person as the tide of the sixties sweeps over her.

For readers of Ottessa Moshfegh and Mary Gaitskill, this blistering, mordantly funny debut novel brilliantly interrogates the nature of friendship and independence and the construction of art and identity. Nothing Special is a whip-smart coming-of-age story that brings to life the experience of young girls in this iconic and turbulent American moment.

About the Author

Nicole Flattery is the author of the story collection Show Them A Good Time. She is the winner of An Post Irish Book Award, the Kate O'Brien Prize, the London Magazine Prize for Debut Fiction, and the White Review Short Story Prize. Her work has appeared in the Stinging Fly, the Guardian, the White Review, and the London Review of Books. A graduate of the master's program in creative writing at Trinity College, she lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Praise for Nothing Special

"I truly love Nicole Flattery's writing." - Sally Rooney, Author of NORMAL PEOPLE and CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

"Exquisitely disorienting . . . Gorgeous . . . This is a story of a young woman and the pocket of stale air that separates her from the world and from herself, the static between authenticity and performance, fantasy and reality . . . Brave and effective." - The New York Times

"Flattery exhibits a keen eye for how often what looks like an escape hatch is another trap . . . a sneakily moving homage to human kindness." - The New Yorker

"In fitting her complex, heartfelt, vexing characters into the spaces left where the names of Warhol’s typists should have been, Flattery is finally giving those egos, or a version of them, a chance to tell their own story, in their own words." - Guardian

"Flattery takes an inspired approach to showing how the stuff of our daily existence can, when mediated through technology, be made into a fiction. By writing of a pre-digital past that was so preoccupied with replicating and documenting itself, turning life into a performance, Flattery shows us that what’s changed isn’t human nature, just our technologies . . . The image[s] she conjures may ring true to many readers, a stark reminder of the fact that today, we’re all living a performance, in a modern-day Factory, whether we like it or not." - The Atlantic

"Nothing Special gives us a lens through which we see girlhood as a narrative of process, of artistic choice." - The Washington Post

"Flattery has a keener sense than most American writers of class resentment . . . a talented novel." - Wall Street Journal

"Nothing Special offers a glimpse of the fracturing experience of fame . . . Flattery uses [this] as an entry point to profound questions about who and what our culture values, and what this says about us . . . caustic, funny." The New Republic

"Nicole Flattery [is] a raucously talented young Irish writer . . . witty, propulsive and darkly delightful to read." - —The Economist

"Deftly woven and captivating" - Harper's Bazaar, The best new fiction books to read in 2023

"With a healthy dash of dark humor, [NOTHING SPECIAL] showcases Flattery’s unflinching observations of human complexity." - Electric Literature

"Flattery’s coming-of-age debut novel is a bold and brilliant examination of an iconic—and ultimately hollow—movement from the vantage point of its most invisible cogs . . . The subversive approach to a familiar modern mythos, the cool-but-crackling dialogue, the knotty psychological portrait of its rescued-and-reimagined protagonist. Between this brava debut, and her weirdly-compelling 2020 collection Show Them a Good Time, Flattery has already established herself one of the most talented and intriguing writers at work in Ireland today." - Lit Hub

"An enjoyable novel - astute and propulsive." - Hyperallergic

"Witty, evocative, and interiorized . . . Flattery aims to catch a spirit here, of youthful rebellion as it ignites, and her vision of the layers of exploitation that make up Mae's task is clear, and addictively delivered." - Booklist

"Bleakly funny... compelling... not just for Warhol fans." - Kirkus Reviews

"Flattery provides a harsh look at the line between art and voyeurism and the struggle to define oneself in a world of overwhelming influences … The novel provides an introspective take on the period and, like modern art, forces readers to look inside themselves for the meaning of the broad strokes on the page." - Library Journal

"Flattery has crafted her coming-of-age novel with exceptional nuance and sincerity . . . Nothing Special’s most familiar feature of all is one as devastating as it is enduring—the voyeurism and performances that so often necessitate our departure from girlhood." - The Sewanee Review

"Flattery puts an Irish spin on Emily Dickinson’s dictum to tell the truth, but ‘tell it slant’ . . . Mae’s struggles and vulnerabilities are sharply observed—funny and cringy, tender and admirably economic." - The Brooklyn Rail

"[Nothing Special] brings a fresh dimension to the Warholian genre." - Cultured Magazine

"Brilliant. The language and the writing are so original" - Sarah Carson, iNews

"I derive so much energy from Nicole Flattery’s writing. Nothing Special casts such a stylish and transportive spell, perhaps it’s better to dust off adjectives like “marvelous” and “fabulous.” I’ll never again ride an escalator without thinking of this book." - Sloane Crosley, author of I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE and CULT CLASSIC

"In enviably elegant prose, she manages to be both arch and deadly serious. Wonderful stuff." - Louise Kennedy, author of TRESPASSES

"Flattery's sentences are astonishing. Their wit and ingenuity, the apt oddness of her metaphors, are addictive and relentlessly delightful, and then all of a sudden her language snaps into an exactness of feeling that knocks you sideways. A special, singular, blazingly original and truly achieved first novel." - Colin Barrett, author of HOMESICKNESS and YOUNG SKINS

"Audacious, original and fully achieved – this is a remarkable novel." - Kevin Barry, author of NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER

"Told with dry wit and sharp observation, Nothing Special speaks in a profound and original way to our age of vacuous consumerism, our empty quests for self-discovery, and our parasitism on celebrity and trend. Flattery ingeniously uses 1960s New York — where the high priest of pop Andy Warhol exploits and mimics for art — to draw striking parallels between artistic creation through reproduction, and the role of fantasy, envy and voyeurism in self-creation. A bold and funny coming-of-age novel about the emptiness of the cult of self, the fetishisation of fame, and the aimless drift of late-stage capitalism." - Imogen Crimp, author of A VERY NICE GIRL

"Flattery channels an unlikely muse in Mae; a young typist tasked with transcribing the lives of avant garde artists, aspiring starlets and hanger-ons in Warhol’s orbit. With rich interiority, she captures the exhilarating, mundane, and often brutal wilderness of girlhood, set in one of the most mythologized cultural eras of our time. Flattery manages to lay bare our enduring parasocial fantasies and celebrity obsession, and the fraught nature of power, art, identity, sex and friendship, all with lucid prose and deadpan humor. A truly addictive read." - Nada Alic, author of Bad Thoughts

"A wry, witty and wonderful novel from a brilliantly captivating storyteller." - Joseph O'Connor, author of STAR OF THE SEA and SHADOWPLAY

"Darkly funny, tender, smart as anything and riddled with the most wonderful sentences, Nothing Special is a superb debut novel from a superb writer. Nicole Flattery is in a league of her own." - John Patrick McHugh, author of PURE GOLD

"There's laughter in the dark and darkness in the laughter in these fabulously astute stories that are at once surreal and more real than reality. Nicole Flattery is so good." - Melissa Broder, author of MILK FED