Isa and her best friend Gala arrive in New York in the Summer of 2013 with a mission in mind, to have as much fun as possible. They recall the heroines of golden age Hollywood; in another era they could be Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Isa and Gala’s literary ancestors might have treated this scene as a marriage market, but the novel is free of commitment, although not without romantic entanglements and their consequences. Isa and Gala’s friendship is the most important relationship in the novel, their friendship is loving but not idyllic, Isa more than once refers to it as a ‘marriage’ with all the history and tensions that go along with that description. Clothes are a secondary, yet crucially important romance, work is something to be avoided where possible and ambition a laughable fancy.
Happy Hour dispels the myth that glamour is analogous to wealth, Isa and Gala are permanently down on their luck, scraping a living by selling clothes on a vintage stall and taking ad hoc modelling and babysitting jobs. In spite of this, they manage to mainly have a fabulous time, only an uncomfortable jaunt to the Hamptons is enough to show Isa that the fair might be coming to an end.
Granados turns sharp and witty prose to great affect here. I would highly recommend Happy Hour for anyone seeking an intelligent but fun read in the mode of Anita Loos, Dorothy Parker or Nora Ephron.