The BookBrowse Review

Published January 22, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

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Editor's Introduction
Reviews
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Book Jacket

Show Them a Good Time
by Nicole Flattery
28 Jan 2020
256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
ISBN-13: 9781635574296
Genre: Short Stories/Essays
Critics:
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A blisteringly original and wickedly funny collection of stories about the strange worlds that women inhabit and the parts that they must play.

A sense of otherworldly menace is at work in the fiction of Nicole Flattery, but the threats are all too familiar. Show Them a Good Time tells the stories of women slotted away into restrictive roles: the celebrity's girlfriend, the widower's second wife, the lecherous professor's student, the corporate employee. And yet, the genius of Flattery's characters is to blithely demolish the boundaries of these limited and limiting social types with immense complexity and caustic intelligence. Nicole Flattery's women are too ferociously mordant, too painfully funny to remain in their places.

In this fiercely original and blazingly brilliant debut, Flattery likewise deconstructs the conventions of genre to serve up strange realities: In "Not the End Yet," Flattery probes the hilarious and wrenching ambivalence of Internet dating as the apocalypse nears; in "Sweet Talk," the mysterious disappearance of a number of local women sets the scene for a young girl to confront the dangerous uncertainties of her own sexuality; in this collection's center piece, "Abortion, A Love Story," two college students in a dystopian campus reconfigure the perilous stories of their bodies in a fraught academic culture to offer a subversive, alarming, and wickedly funny play that takes over their own offstage lives. And yet, however surreal or richly imagined the setting, Flattery always shows us these strange worlds from startlingly unexpected angles, through an unforgettable cast of brutally honest, darkly hilarious women and girls.

Like the stories of Mary Gaitskill, Miranda July, Lorrie Moore, Joy Williams, and Ottessa Moshfegh, Show Them a Good Time is the work of a profoundly resonant and revelatory literary voice – at once spiky, humane, achingly hilarious - that is sure to echo through the literary culture for decades to come.

"A seamless blend of reality and the surreal, Flattery's stories defy genre in an affecting yet unobtrusive manner. Readers should expect to be equal parts intrigued and unsettled." - Publishers Weekly

"Plot is not the engine here. Instead, Flattery's prose—absurd, painfully funny, and bracingly original—slingshots the stories forward. These female characters never say what you're expecting, and their insights are always incisive...Nervy, audacious stories in which women finally get to speak their minds." - Kirkus Reviews

"With loads of strangeness, humor, and really great lines, Flattery writes women's uncanny and true lives." - Booklist

"At its best, which is often, Flattery's prose has a thrilling relentlessness and rhythmical snap to it; it pummels and excites." - The Guardian (UK)

"The book is a bit like drinking: refreshingly obliterative, realistically distorted...some of the most concrete aspects of the book are provided by the dialogue, which, as in Lorrie Moore or Deborah Eisenberg, often contains much of the stories' movement as it delivers funny little zaps to the main character's perspective." - London Review of Books

"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 The Pisces

"Smart as a whip, unusual, and very, very funny, Flattery's distinctive prose is a real treat." - Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond

Nicole Flattery's work has been published in The Stinging Fly, The White Review, The Dublin Review, BBC Radio 4, The Irish Times and Winter Papers. She has also contributed a story to Faber's 2019 Anthology of New Irish Writing. A graduate of the master's program in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin, she lives in Galway.

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