SubText Books is proud to present a reading with Joseph Cassara for The House of Impossible Beauties on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM in the store! Cassara will be in conversation with Chris Stedman, author of Faithiest. Book signing to follow!
*Named a most anticipated book of 2018 by Buzzfeed - The Wall Street Journal - The Millions - Southern Living - Bustle - Esquire - Entertainment Weekly - Nylon*
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.
About Joseph Cassara:
Joseph Cassara holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He was a 2016-2017 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His debut novel, The House of Impossible Beauties (Ecco/HarperCollins), will be published in February and has already been listed as one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Nylon, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, The Irish Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Millions. He currently lives in Iowa City.
About Chris Stedman:
Chris Stedman is the author of Faitheist, "an intimate and deeply affecting portrait… [that] proves [he is] an activist in the truest sense and one to watch” (Booklist, Starred Review). His writing has appeared in The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, The Rumpus, The Advocate, USA Today, The Washington Post, VICE, and Salon. After serving as a Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and director of the Yale Humanist Community, he now lives in Minneapolis, where he is a writer, speaker, fellow at Augsburg University, and founding executive director of the Humanist Center of Minnesota. He is working on his second book and writing a monthly column on vulnerability in the social media age for INTO called "Exposed."