112th: Joseph Cassara, Patrick Nathan, & Joseph Osmundson
Join us at Book Culture on 112th on Saturday, June 1st at 6pm as we welcome Joseph Cassara, Patrick Nathan, and Joseph Osmundson to discuss their works, House of Impossible Beauties, Some Hell, and INSIDE/OUT.
House of Impossible Beauties:
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.
A wrenching and layered debut novel about a gay teen’s coming-of-age in the aftermath of his father’s suicide
Colin’s family is dissolving in the aftermath of his father’s suicide. While his mother, Diane, retreats into therapy and cynicism, Colin clings to every shred of normal life. Awash with guilt, he casts about for someone to confide in: first his estranged grandfather, then a predatory science teacher. Shunned by his siblings and rejected by his homophobic best friend, Colin immerses himself in the notebooks his father left behind. Full of strange facts, lists, and historical anecdotes that neither Colin nor Diane can understand, the notebooks infect their worldview until they can no longer tell what’s real and what’s imagined. A novel of aching intensity, Some Hell shows how unspeakable tragedy shapes a life, and how imagination saves us from ourselves.
"I wish I'd had this book when I was 22 and making mistakes all over the world. I might have made fewer, might have made more, but I might have loved myself better the whole time. Bold, wise, percussive delight--Joseph Osmundson brings to the page the candor of the empty bed, and the full one, too. Inside/Out is like if Maggie Nelson had written Bluets about fucking men."
- Alexander Chee, author of Queen of the Night, a New York Times Editors' Choice
"In tracking an obsessive relationship that treads the devastating line between dysfunction and abuse, Joseph Osmundson explores how vulnerability, need, and shame echo across a life, and meditates on the complexities, both emotional and ethical, of writing that life. Inside/Out is a beautiful and brave book."
- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016
"I don't know that there is a writer in this country doing as much with queer theory, narrative momentum, whiteness, sexual identity, and the literal outside as Joseph Osmundson. Somehow, while welcoming readers into so many folds of his life, he manages to obliterate spectacle and really demands we ask ourselves who and what we are, and who and what we want to hide, from the inside out."
- Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division
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 Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The House of Impossible Beauties is his first novel. Joseph is a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist.
Patrick Nathan’s short fiction and essays have appeared in Gulf Coast, Boulevard, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. Some Hell is his first novel. He lives in Minneapolis. Patrick is a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist.
Joseph Osmundson is a scientist and writer based in New York City. He has a PhD from The Rockefeller University in Molecular Biophysics. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Gawker, The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, The Lambda Literary Review, and The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere, too. His book, Capsid: A Love Song won the POZ Award for best HIV writing (fiction/poetry) and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His second book, INSIDE/OUT is now out from Sibling Rivalry Press