With the verve and bite of Ottessa Moshfegh and the barbed charm of Nancy Mitford, Marlowe Granados’s stunning debut brilliantly captures a summer of striving in New York City
Refreshing and wry in equal measure, Happy Hour is an intoxicating novel of youth well spent. Isa Epley is all of twenty-one years old, and already wise enough to understand that the purpose of life is the pursuit of pleasure. She arrives in New York City for a summer of adventure with her best friend, one newly blond Gala Novak. They have little money, but that’s hardly going to stop them from having a good time.
In her diary, Isa describes a sweltering summer in the glittering city. By day, the girls sell clothes in a market stall, pinching pennies for their Bed-Stuy sublet and bodega lunches. By night, they weave from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side to the Hamptons among a rotating cast of celebrities, artists, Internet entrepreneurs, stuffy intellectuals, and bad-mannered grifters. Resources run ever tighter and the strain tests their friendship as they try to convert their social capital into something more lasting than precarious gigs as au pairs, nightclub hostesses, paid audience members, and aspiring foot fetish models. Through it all, Isa’s bold, beguiling voice captures the precise thrill of cultivating a life of glamour and intrigue as she juggles paying her dues with skipping out on the bill. Happy Hour is a novel about getting by and having fun in a world that wants you to do neither.
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