Nicole Flattery, author of Nothing Special, photographed by Maria Ródenas Sáinz de Baranda. There is no writer working today whose work makes me feel like Nicole Flattery 's does. I first came to her fiction a few years ago through her collection of short stories, Show Them a Good Time . I was in bed for a week after an abortion which had been a little medically complicated, trying to read. I was angry about the way I had been treated and I wasn't able to focus on more than a page of anything. I'd bought Show Them a Good Time a few months earlier because I liked the cover, a photo of multi-colored balls, which I felt conveyed a funny, faintly manic energy. I didn't know anything about Nicole, but that was my ignorance. She had already made a name for herself in the literary world, winning accolades like the White Review's buzzy short story prize . Anyway, I picked it up and it was the first thing I could read. It was beautiful and funny; she is an extraordinary prose stylist. But what struck me was the way the characters she writes, typically female protagonists in slightly surreal situations, interact with the world. Sure, they are a little unhinged, but the world around them is far crazier, and they aren't simply going along with it. This doesn't make their lives better. If anything, it makes them worse . They are deadbeats and losers. But Nicole's work questions the value of playing a stupid game. What she does is not realism, but to me it feels somehow more honest and true. And that's what brought me back to life. Her first novel Nothing Special , to be published by Bloomsbury next week, is about a pair of teenage typists in Andy Warhol's factory who transcribed the material for his book a, A Novel and never got any credit. It has a lot to say about art, the deranging effects of fame and celebrity culture, and what social media has done to us all, without being a book in […]
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