Happy Hour: A Novel
By Marlowe Granados
Happy Hour is a book that could easily be dismissed as a boozy, hedonistic memoir of a summer. Yet “being easily dismissed” is precisely what it’s about.
In an interview with the literary site Hazlitt, Marlowe Granados describes her impulse to write it: “I always wanted to write a book from the perspective of the type of girls who are always being observed but never seem to be making their own observations.” Elsewhere, she characterizes it differently: “Gala and Isa,” the girls in question, “want to have some sort of legacy, to have had a say in how they are perceived.”
One of the lessons of Happy Hour is that beauty and luxury are not the same as excess and decadence. Gala and Isa are party girls, but they’re not rich. They weave a brocade of gem-like moments in 2013 New York where others would swipe a credit card and forget.
Their lives are not the cynical exploitation of men nor the punishment of vain, “superficial,” or desperate women. They want to savor their existence: “to savor,” Isa says, “is to hold something...for more than a moment, to linger and draw out its details. Sometimes you are far too hungry to wait, and things get lost.” So you write them down to remember what your life consisted of.
Your book club question: what gives fun meaning for Isa and Gala? Don’t dismiss that question with an easy answer. Work through some of the others below.
Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.