by Marlowe Granados
Narrated by Bronwyn Szabo
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2021
ECW Press Audio, Bespeak Audio Editions
With the verve and bite of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and the wisecracking sensibility of a golden-age Hollywood heroine, Marlowe Granados’s stunning début 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 twenty-one years old and wise enough to understand that the purpose of life is the pursuit of pleasure. In her diary she chronicles her New York City adventure during the sweltering summer of 2013. By day, Isa and her best friend, Gala, 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 among a rotating cast of celebrities, artists, and bad-mannered grifters. Money runs ever tighter and the strain tests their friendship as they try to convert their social capital into something more lasting. 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 announces a dazzling new talent in Marlowe Granados, whose exquisite wit recalls Anita Loos’s 1925 classic, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, updated to evoke a recent, golden period of hope and transformation. A cri de cœur for party girls and anyone who has ever felt entitled to an adventure of their own, Happy Hour is an effervescent tonic for the ails of contemporary life.
|DURATION||8 Hours, 7 Minutes|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 10 members
I am completely enamored with Granados' debut novel. I think every time I've picked up a novel touting a wayward twentysomething trying to find her way, I've been hoping to read this book. In it we meet Isa and her best friend/roommate Gala, glamorous girls about town who also happen to be flat broke. Without ever worrying too much about the future, the girls fill the time between nights out earning money through odd jobs like selling clothing in a flea market, becoming foot fetish models and acting as audience members on a syndicated TV show. Balancing hedonism with poverty is no easy task. . The first half of the book was frivolous and fun; it's been a minute since I was in a club of any variety, and it was so fun to live vicariously through Isa and Gala for a while. Isa is a quick wit and I thoroughly enjoyed her deadpan observations about the partygoers and social climbers around her. Just as I began to tire of the party girl antics, it started to become clear to me that Isa is not just a vain twenty-something looking for free drinks in the big city, she's a fiercely intelligent, self-assured young woman living her life on her own terms. Isa knows she's - as the kids say - not for everyone, and she doesn't let that get her down. Isa remains true to herself and doesn't water down her personality or interests because others might think her "silly and light;" rather, she leans into that persona and uses it to leverage to get what she wants. Granados had me thinking Isa was shallow (and fun!) myself until I started to learn more about her backstory. I love it when an author catches me like that. . In the author's note at the end of the book, Granados' lends her support to all the women who write and aren't taken seriously, and I think that sentiment can extend to all women who just live and aren't taken seriously. At various points in the book, ancillary characters are outright rude to Isa, and she knows why- because they can be. If you are someone who has been dismissed or underestimated for being young or a girl (or any number of reasons, really) this is TOO REAL. Isa lets it all roll off her back, showing a remarkable resilience and commitment to being herself; if you don't "get" Isa then that is just your loss. No spoilers, but in the end, Isa gets to stick it to those who dismiss her in a most satisfactory and understated conclusion. . All drunken antics aside, Marlowe also touches on some important issues in the text. Isa and Gala are not US citizens, and their status as immigrants is never far from their mind (notably while commiting light-hearted petty crime). A (bottle) blonde Bosnian refugee, Gala blends in, while Isa garners a lot of attention for her "exotic" appearance. I wouldn't say either immigration or colorism/racism is a major plot point in Happy Hour, but both topics add some weight to the narrative and remind readers that of the very real problems that even seemingly frivolous protagonists can face.