Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to request physical items has been temporarily disabled. Click here to find out how to create lists of items to request later. You can still request OverDrive items from this site, and all digital resources remain available through the eLibrary site. If you need a library card, register here.

The house of impossible beauties

by Cassara, Joseph,

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 15 of 16 copies
Available (15)
Location Collection Call #
Andrew Carnegie Free Library Fiction FIC CASSAR
Location  Andrew Carnegie Free Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CASSAR
Brentwood Library Fiction FICTION Cassara
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FICTION Cassara
C.C. Mellor Memorial Library Fiction FIC Cas
Location  C.C. Mellor Memorial Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC Cas
CLP - Allegheny Regional LGBTQ FICTION Cassara
Location  CLP - Allegheny Regional
Collection  LGBTQ
Call Number  FICTION Cassara
CLP - East Liberty LGBTQ FICTION Cassara
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  LGBTQ
Call Number  FICTION Cassara
CLP - Main Library First Floor - LGBTQ FICTION Cassara
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - LGBTQ
Call Number  FICTION Cassara
Cooper-Siegel Community Library Fiction FIC CAS
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CAS
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction CASSARA Joseph
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  CASSARA Joseph
Northern Tier Regional Library Fiction FIC CASSA
Location  Northern Tier Regional Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CASSA
Northland Public Library Fiction FIC CASSARA
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CASSARA
Penn Hills Library Fiction CAS
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  CAS
Shaler North Hills Library Fiction CASSARA
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  CASSARA
South Park Library Fiction F CASSARA
Location  South Park Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  F CASSARA
Western Allegheny Community Library Fiction Realistic F CASSARA
Location  Western Allegheny Community Library
Collection  Fiction Realistic
Call Number  F CASSARA
Wilkinsburg Public Library Fiction FIC CAS
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CAS
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Squirrel Hill Fiction Collection CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Fiction Collection

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed * The Wall Street Journal * The Millions * Southern Living * Bustle * Esquire * Entertainment Weekly * Nylon * Mashable * Libary Journal * Thrillist

"Cassaras's propulsive and profound first novel, finding one's home in the world--particularly in a subculture plagued by fear and intolerance from society--comes with tragedy as well as extraordinary personal freedom." -- Esquire

A gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and '90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning

It's 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city's glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone.

As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus's life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Inspired in part by Jennie Livingston's celebrated documentary film Paris Is Burning (1991), Cassara's first novel dramatically re-creates the world of Harlem balls and the houses that revolve around them, focusing on the real-world House of Xtravaganza, the first Latino house in the ball scene. A fabulous queen named Angel is the mother of her three Xtravaganza children: teenagers Venus, a pre-op transsexual; Daniel, a butch gay; and Juanito, who wants to live like a man while he busily makes clothes for the other three. The two boys become lovers while Venus searches for a man who will love her and give her a home in the suburbs. It's the 1980s and early '90s in New York, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, which will figure largely in this often heartbreaking story of young people who support themselves by selling their bodies. Drugs, too, are part of the scene and will impact the lives of the three children. Cassara has done a superb job of reimagining a world that will be foreign and even exotic to many readers, while creating fully developed characters to populate it. The tone is singularly apposite. And although the text is sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, they are generally understandable in context and add verisimilitude to a compassionate story, which is altogether moving and unforgettable.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Angie and Venus Xtravaganza were key members of the New York drag ball scene made famous to outsiders by the 1991 film Paris is Burning. Cassara's debut novel imagines them as runaways fleeing impoverished, unsupportive, or abusive homes; ball circuit stars embodying the glamour they craved; loving sisters and mothers to needy gay teens and each other; and grieving, jonesing, dying women. There's also a love story between Juanito and Daniel, younger runaways whom Angel (as she's called here) and Venus take in and teach to walk a ball and work the street. Impressionistically covering the period from 1976 to 1993, the book is long on origin stories and grief, as lovers and friends die of AIDS, johns fail to keep their promises, and cocaine and crystal meth take their toll. What it lacks, besides the ball scene, which readers see little of, is the feeling that Cassara is adding something to the story. While readers who are too young to know this history may appreciate having access to a dramatic moment and some of the legendary figures who populated it, those for whom this is more familiar territory may find themselves wishing for more insight. Angel and Venus may get to tell their story here, but they largely come across the way they looked from afar: as strong yet fragile, street-smart, shade-throwing, generous, and ultimately doomed divas. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gay youth -- Fiction.
Transgender people -- Fiction.
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2018
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 400 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780062676979
Other Classic View