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Nothing Special

A novel by

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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"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

"Audacious, original and fully achieved - this is a remarkable novel." - Kevin Barry

"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

"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

"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

"Brilliant, full of surprises." - Roddy Doyle

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

"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

"A wry, witty and wonderful novel from a brilliantly captivating storyteller." - Joseph O'Connor

"I truly love Nicole Flattery's writing." - Sally Rooney

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