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Ireland Short Stories

Show Them a Good Time

Nicole Flattery

good time cover
Ireland Short Stories

Show Them a Good Time

Nicole Flattery


Nicole Flattery (1990) studied theatre, film, and creative writing. She has gained numerous readers by publishing short stories in Irish and international literary magazines. In 2017, she won the prestigious White Review Short Story Prize, which helped her make her debut with the prestigious Bloomsbury Publishing. She lives and works in Galway.


Eight different stories open up themes of friendship between women, family ties, coping with loss, unrequited love, etc., and are mostly associated with descriptions of tedious, senseless jobs, the various social roles we play and the fear of falling into poverty – the precarisation of modern (young) workers. Absurdity mixes effortlessly with realism and social satire with warm humour.


'Abortion: A Love Story', 'Show Them a Good Time', 'Not the End Yet' and 'Sweet Talk' from SHOW THEM A GOOD TIME by Nicole Flattery. Copyright © 2019, Nicole Flattery, used by permission of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for the whole world (except Republic of Ireland) and The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited for the territory of the Republic of Ireland."


Affecting and darkly funny . . . Posing biting questions about identity, sexuality and trauma, Show Them a Good Time is an offbeat yet moving look at contemporary womanhood.

TIME Magazine

When I moved to New York, I was overwhelmed by the sense that everyone I encountered was desperately holding themselves together. I could not escape the feeling that I, too, must be very careful, that if I were not, some crack in my skin would open and spill my insides onto the sidewalk. Accompanying this vigilance was an impulse toward rebellion, the sense that if only I were reckless, I could finally have some fun. I came to fancy myself somewhat deranged and decided to leave it at that. There are many such women in Nicole Flattery's outstanding collection Show Them a Good Time-women who are holding themselves together or flagrantly resisting the mandate to do so, in worlds both horrifying and hilarious. . . . [a] wry and devastating companion.

Paris Review

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

Irish women writers are on fire, and Nicole Flattery is yet a further brilliant example … Ten smart stories about dating, relationships and the absurdities of modern life.

Young Irish novelists like Sally Rooney, Belinda McKeon, Naoise Dolan, Rob Doyle and Nicole Flattery all attended Trinity College Dublin. In much of their fiction, there is a drama between a sense of new entitlement and the pull of home, the conflict between a self that had been bathed in a fragile cosmopolitanism and a family that sounded as though they belonged to a country and a century and a mindset that were far away...Rooney, McKeon, Dolan and Flattery have drawn portraits of young women in their books that are complicated and intricate and enigmatic. Their young women are educated and well-read; they think frankly about sex; they are free in the world. They have escaped the repressive Ireland that nourished the novels of Edna O'Brien and John McGahern.

Colm Toibin, The Wall Street Journal

Mind-blowing; by turns macabre, ferociously funny and concerned with what's been called, 'the dark comedy of women's lives.' Like Rooney, Flattery sometimes focuses on the idea of 'normal' as a surreal concept with one character describing her hometown in Ireland as, 'a strange place dressed up as a normal place.

Globe and Mail