Sunday, 25 August 2019

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Caesura

"Men come and go, I always say that. Maybe love is shorter than it should be, but hot diggity damn, Chanel is fuckin' forever."

Gorgeous cover, fabulous title and if you like the TV show Pose or the documentary Paris is Burning, well you are really going to like this book. At times it is hard going given that the actions take place in the ball room scene of New York in the 80s - peak Aids crisis.

I was drawn into the tale of Angel and her family, of Venus, Juanito and Daniel and there were some moments that really had me reaching for the tissue box. There is very little time spent on the dance floor and a real focus on the lives of the protagonists. Dreaming of shopping at Saks, dealing with sleeping rough and doing whatever it takes to make ends meet, the house of Xtravaganza has a layered and diverse storyline.

Cassara has some great one liners which really sing and there are moments that are funny, touching, confronting and sublime.  I did read a review after I'd finished that suggested some of the timeline was a bit wonky, but I don't think that detracts from the story.

4 out of 5 strike a pose... Vogue.

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