The Next Chapter

Marlowe Granados's novel Happy Hour is about naked ambition and being the life of the party

The Canadian author and filmmaker spoke with Shelagh Rogers about what inspired her debut novel.
Marlowe Granados is a Toronto author. (Rachel Woroner, Flying Books)

This segment originally aired on Jan. 2, 2021.

Marlowe Granados is a writer, filmmaker and podcaster based in Toronto. She's also the author of the novel Happy Hour, a novel about two women in their 20s — Isa Epley and her best friend Gala — who are having the time of their lives in New York City during the summer of 2013. 

Life for Isa and Gala is all about pleasure and ambition. This includes fun, partying and living in the moment, no matter the eventual cost. 

Happy Hour was a finalist for the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

Granados spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Happy Hour.

On the hunt

"Isa and Gala are looking for adventure. I always talk about them as little sharks — they're always moving forward. 

"They have this kind of ambition that I feel is rare. They don't have any sort of professional ambition, but they have this drive for every single night to be the best night, or a drive to say yes to everything. They want to find brief encounters of love and fun that make their life and their summer worthwhile.

They want to be a fixture, not a possibility for people.

"They are novel girls about town. People like to be a little entertained by them. They're amusing to be around. They're fun and they make parties happy. They make the situation that they're in exciting and they add to whatever's happening. They want to be a fixture, not a possibility for people." 

Hustle in the city

"Often what happens is people get blinded by their need to 'hustle' in a city. When you start ultimately judging people on what they do and what they can do for you, it becomes so vapid and very inauthentic. 

Often what happens is people get blinded by their need to 'hustle' in a city.

"What is interesting about the girls is that when they come into contact with other people, they're so shocked that they don't have these kinds of professional ambitions. It's this two-sided thing where, A, these people realize that these girls can't do anything for them, and B, they're like, 'How interesting, cool and authentic of you to not care and just to be this wild fixture.'"

All about the journey of life

"What's interesting to me is how women create their own lives and narratives. What I also wanted to show about women's friendship is their journey — and the way that there are little adventurers. That's more important than having these long-term flirtations or romances.

What's interesting to me is how women create their own lives and narratives.

"But it is also an important exercise to show that these girls do desire men in a certain way. 

"They're always drawn to them and they can map out how their attraction works. And they like to look at them, which is, I think, quite refreshing and nice."

Marlowe Granados's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?