The House of Impossible Beauties

Pages: 416
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The House of Impossible Beauties

Joseph Cassara

A dazzling debut inspired by the underground ballroom voguing scene that exploded in New York during the 70s and 80s

9781786073143 (1 Feb 2018)
RRP £14.99

The Book

Inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza in the seminal documentary Paris is Burning, and set in New York City from the late 70s-early 90s against the backdrop of the impending AIDS crisis, The House of Impossible Beauties follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Pier as they flee their traumatic pasts and band together to form the city's first all-Latino House.

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 resilience of the human spirit.  

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 416
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The House of Impossible Beauties is his first novel. He lives in Iowa.


‘An exceptional first novel...The writing is erotically luscious, lyrically intense, forthrightly in your face, and pitch-perfect in the dialog...A grittily gorgeous work for readers who don't go for cozies.' 

- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Starred Review

Some debut novels are much anticipated...Others seem to come out of nowhere. Who knew Joseph Cassara's The House of Impossible Beauties would be that good...Either way, debut novels are always a surprise, and therein lies their power.

- PW First—And Foremost

‘A marvelously serious, deep, artful, humane read…There's so much downright gorgeous prose.'

- Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers

‘Intimate and dazzling…a novel full of desire and suspense and heartbreak.'


- Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

‘In Joseph Cassara's powerful story about the scene in New York in the 1980s, it is full of vivid characters and wonderfully authentic dialogue that reminded me of the period I spent working in the city during that time. For me, it was especially gratifying to see how important Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey -- those two giants of American Contemporary Dance -- feature in the life of the fabulous Xtravaganzas.'

- Stuart Hopps, choreographer