With the verve and bite of Ottessa Moshfegh and the barbed charm of Nancy Mitford, this stunning debut about a young ingénue in the big city is “as refreshing as gin fizz . . . a wild careening joyride through a hot sultry summer in New York” (Rachel Syme, The New Yorker).
Isa Epley, all of twenty-one years old, is already wise enough to understand that the purpose of life is the pursuit of pleasure. She arrives in New York with her newly blond best friend looking for adventure. They have little money, but that’s hardly going to stop them.
By day, the girls sell clothes on a market stall, pinching pennies for their Bed-Stuy sublet and bodega lunches. By night, they weave between Brooklyn, the Upper East Side, and the Hamptons among a rotating cast of celebrities, artists, Internet entrepreneurs, stuffy intellectuals, and bad-mannered grifters. Resources run ever tighter and the strain tests their friendship as they try to convert social capital into something more lasting than precarious gigs as au pairs, nightclub hostesses, paid audience members, and aspiring foot fetish models.
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 is a novel about getting by and having fun in a system that wants you to do neither.