In the late 1960s, Pop artist Andy Warhol set out to make an unconventional novel by following a cast of his most famous characters around New York, recording their conversations with his tape recorder. The twenty-four one-hour tapes were transcribed by four women: The Velvet Underground’s drummer Maureen Tucker, a Barnard student Susan Pile, and two young women.
In Nothing Special, Nicole Flattery imagines the lives of those high school students: precocious and wise beyond their years but still only teenagers, living with their mothers but working all day in the surreal and increasingly dangerous world of Andy Warhol’s Factory, and learning to shape and reshape their identities as they navigate between their low-paid, grueling jobs and their lives at home, in a time of social change for girls and women in America.
This blistering, mordantly funny debut interrogates the nature of fantasy and reality, voyeurism and language, and celebrity and the construction of identity. Within the framework of Andy Warhol’s surreal world, Flattery asks us to consider at what point does the creation, and consumption, of our public selves turn us into something we don’t recognise?