Oneworld has acquired Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beauties, a "dazzling" first novel inspired by New York's underground ballroom scene of the 70s and 80s.
Publisher Juliet Mabey pre-empted UK and British Commonwealth rights for the debut from Claire Roberts on behalf of Ellen Levine at Trident.
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 is a "heart-wrenching, gritty, and gorgeous novel" that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Piers 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 publisher said.
Mabey added: "The House of Impossible Beauties is a hugely exciting, ambitious and vibrant novel. Cassara has created a world completely alien to my life, yet his delivery bristles with such energy and brio, and moments of bittersweet humour, that the novel crackles with personality and tenderness. We set up Oneworld’s fiction list to publish books that, among other things, opened windows onto worlds beyond readers’ experience, novels that excited and challenged and showcased the very best writing. The House of Impossible Beauties does all these things, quite brilliantly. It's an extraordinary, poignant novel."
Oneworld will publish as a lead fiction hardback in spring 2018 simultaneously with Ecco Press / Harper Collins in The States.