Show Them A Good Time
The debut collection of short stories from this 29-year-old Irish woman is almost frighteningly assured. Her female protagonists are often in asymmetric, unfulfilling relationships and their tales are told in a crisp style that is often jarring, often funny. ‘Sweet Talk’ sees a teenage narrator flirting with an older Australian traveller, while the background hum is provided by news reports of women going missing. ‘Track’ is set in New York and focuses on the relationship between a younger woman and an older comedian who is still trying to remain relevant (“He claimed the link between cancer and repeated failure was irrefutable.”). The longest piece is ‘Abortion: A Love Story’, which sees two disenfranchised college student putting on a play to tell their respective stories. This tour de force lurches into outright absurdism, and is reminiscent of acclaimed US author Nell Zink at her most playful. Flattery is a fresh new voice and I can’t wait to see what she does next.