cover image Happy Hour

Happy Hour

Marlowe Granados. Verso, $19.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-83976-401-1

In Granados’s amusingly mischievous debut, a young ingenue comes to New York City from London for a summer, seeking to bury her grief over her mother’s death. By night, Isa Epley and her friend Gala Novak rub shoulders with celebrities and intellectuals. By day, they make ends meet selling clothes on consignment. Gala’s gift for being in the right place at the right time opens up new vistas for the impressionable Isa, who records her nighttime adventures in her diary or in notes on her phone (“It’s inconspicuous; I look as though I am being aloof and texting, but I am noticing and observing all the time”). All of 21 (“an unserious age,” according to her), Isa contents herself with cocktails and the kind of men likely to pay for them, trying to tell the sincere patrons of the arts from the phonies as she pursues a quest for “Social Capital,” while Gala comes dangerously close to drifting into a cult. Isa’s keen perception lifts this comedy of manners above the surface she and Gala attempt to glide on for the summer’s duration (“If I were to describe typical New York conversation, it would be two people waiting for their turn to talk”). This perfectly sums up a new age of innocence. (Sept.)