Nicole Flattery‘s Nothing Special is a blistering, mordantly funny debut that brilliantly interrogates the nature of friendship and independence and the construction of art and identity. It’s is a whip-smart coming-of-age story that brings to life the experience of young girls in this iconic and turbulent American moment. In New York City, 1966, seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a run-down 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.
Megan Nolan‘s Ordinary Human Failings takes us beyond the headlines, where everyone has a story to tell. It’s 1990 in London and Tom Hargreaves has it all: a burgeoning career as a reporter, fierce ambition and a brisk disregard for the “peasants” – ordinary people, his readers, easy tabloid fodder. His star looks set to rise when he stumbles across a scoop: a dead child on a London estate, grieving parents loved across the neighbourhood, and the finger of suspicion pointing at one reclusive family of Irish immigrants and ‘bad apples’: the Greens. At their heart sits Carmel: beautiful, otherworldly, broken, and once destined for a future beyond her circumstances until life – and love – got in her way. Crushed by failure and surrounded by disappointment, there’s nowhere for her to go and no chance of escape. Now, with the police closing in on a suspect and the tabloids hunting their monster, she must confront the secrets and silences that have trapped her family for so many generations.
Nicole Flattery’s work has been published in The London Review of Books, New York Times, The Stinging Fly, Sight and Sound, The Dublin Review, BBC Radio 4, Winter Papers and...Read More
Megan Nolan was born in 1990 in Waterford, Ireland and is currently based in London. Her essays and reviews have been published by the New York Times, the White Review,...Read More
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