Happy Hours

Gary Smith, Author Harmony $14.95 (170p) ISBN 978-0-517-56523-0
Willy and Vee grow up in the same suburban town. They watch their parents and their friends' parents drink; soon they begin to drink themselves. Booze plays an important part in their high school and college years, so that a little later, when Vee and Willy meet again, drinking is, for both, as reflexive as talking or making love. Vee, recently divorced, is abandoning a painting career and developing an interest in art history. Willy works for a shipping company. Sensitive, intelligent and quite a bit in love, they move in together. But then Willy is unfaithful and begins to drink more. When an old friend dies, he goes on a liquid quest that takes him lower than he's ever been. Apparently, his binge prompts Vee to realize how much she cares for him; her feelings, in turn, might motivate him to moderate his consumption. It's hard to tell, for their story doesn't end, it only stops. In spare, clean prose, Smith writes about characters who matter, but he emphasizes their drinking so relentlessly that this novel feels less like a story than a tract, albeit a particularly well-written one. (April 24)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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