Our ReviewsNothing Special by Nicole Flattery

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery

NOTHING SPECIAL

When an advance copy has the rapturous praise of no less than Sally Rooney on the cover, expectations are going to be high. 

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery was published by @bloomsburypublishing two weeks ago and I would suggest immediately ordering. Having read it yesterday in one languid sitting, it more than warrants the ardent reviews already garnered.

A coming of age novel that places you deeply into the mind of it’s chaotic, naive protagonist, the reader is transported to the hedonism of Andy Warhol’s Factory in the 60s. Mae is teetering on the brink, desperate to escape her drab life, from the vexatious school friends to her alcoholic mother, when a chance encounter with a predatory doctor gives her the opportunity to work for the legendary artist, transcribing the hours of recordings made of everything in the Factory. And I mean everything. We watch as she descends into the debauchery and haze of endless parties.

It was only after finishing this novel that I realised it’s brilliance, the pace does takes time to build as the monotony and normalcy of Mae’s role is compared to the at times exploitative, hyper sexualised, all in the name of art, avant garde activity which goes on behind her. The prose is perceptive, emotive, flowing around and building the scene deftly, without you noticing.

Flattery carefully uses the mythical figure of Warhol in the background but critically he isn’t the focus, which allows the women caught up in the constant activity around him to shine. The manuscript and surrounding context is real, Warhol published a book in 1968, but the four women who worked as typists were never credited. This imagining rights that wrong and compels you to consider the people behind the scenes.

Now excuse me whilst I plummet into a Warhol sized google rabbit hole for a few days – C

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