Review: The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Title: The House of Impossible Beauties

Author: Joseph Cassara

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

The Blurb

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.

The Review

I think my heart is a little bit broken. The House of Impossible Beauties centres on the trans community in New York during the 1970s onwards. It looks at the lack of understanding outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. It navigates familial breakdown and looks at how a person can create their own family – they may not be blood but it shows that you don’t need to be related by arbitrary blood types to look out for one another. 

The House of Impossible Beauties couldn’t exist in this time period without looking at the AIDS crisis. The story shows how it ravaged those who were infected and how the negativity surrounding sexuality was juxtaposed to the narrative of the day. 

Mainly it looks at loss. That comes in the form of loss of innocence but mainly through the loss of those that you love. The House of Impossible Beauties was in fact a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara is available now.

For more information regarding Joseph Cassara (@josephbcassara) please visit

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