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This Brutal House

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2.64  ·  Rating details ·  14 ratings  ·  8 reviews
On the steps of New York's City Hall, five ageing Mothers sit in silent protest. They are the guardians of the vogue ball community - queer men who opened their hearts and homes to countless lost Children, providing safe spaces for them to explore their true selves.
Through epochs of city nightlife, from draconian to liberal, the Children have been going missing; their abse
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 6th 2019 by Dialogue Books
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2.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  14 ratings  ·  8 reviews


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Charlotte
Jun 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book: having read Niven Govinden's 'Black Bread, White Beer' a couple of years ago and been struck by his confident and alternative handling of a subject (miscarriage) so often portrayed from a mother's perspective.
However, sadly my expectations were dashed as I found 'This Brutal House' impenetrable. The narrative is relayed in the plural first person of 'we' distancing the reader from individual personalities and experiences to the extent that I found it almost impos
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Anna Tan
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, review-copy
This Brutal House is moving, visceral; Govinden makes you live every moment, each line evoking a mood, a world.

You are there with the Mothers as they sit in silent protest on the steps of City Hall.

You are Teddy growing up broken but driven, learning to lie in order to fix things, to quietly ease things for the Mothers, using his position in City Hall to try to find a resolution.

You walk the floor to the shade of the vogue caller, living the chaos of the balls, the noise and heat of the dance
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Sarah Burton
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was excited to read This Brutal House after having watched the BBC series Pose, I was keen to discover more of the fascinating stories around the Vogue balls and the LGBT community in New York. This Brutal House started well but it never seemed to actually get to the point of the story, as a reader I felt lost in the story never knowing what it was actually about - Teddy & his life, the Mothers & their protest or Teddy & the Mothers relationship. The Vogue Caller chapters were stra ...more
Lucy
Jun 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
It’s been a long time since I didn’t finish a book, but 40% in, and I really can’t read any more.

The Mothers (men in drag) are camped on the steps of city hall in silent protest, as the number of children they shelter increasingly disappear.

I struggled to get into this – partly because of the lack of characters, beyond Teddy, one of the boys, and Sherry, now disappeared; what finished me off was what I shall call the ‘category’ chapter – page after page after page of ‘category’ lists which did m
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Sophie Stein
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Brief review forthcoming for “Totally Dublin.”
mylogicisfuzzy
My overall rating, 3.5 out of 5 stars but I wish we could rate out of 10, in which case it would be a 7.

What powerful writing, luminous, angry, desperate. It is very effective too, Govinden vividly captures the experiences of a community long marginalised for its otherness. The highs, the freedom to express who you are at the balls, the acceptance and support the houses provide and the lows, the pain of losing members of your community, the fury when the authorities don’t care.

In a non-linear n
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Eishar Kaur
rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2019
Viki Cheung
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2019
Annarella
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a well written book but unfortunately it was not my cup of tea as I couldn't connect and became bored.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Oryx
rated it it was ok
Dec 31, 2018
Scott Barnett
rated it really liked it
Jun 08, 2019
Gary Cheetham
rated it it was ok
May 13, 2019
Sarah
May 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was not for me. I did not engage with the narrator as it was all phrased as 'we' but I could not get enough of a grip on who 'we' were to particularly care. The prose was too dense and did not seem to be going anywhere. Sorry but I could not read this.
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An outstanding new voice in British literature, whose novel Graffiti My Soul is a heart-breaking story of youthful love and tragic loss

This is Surrey where nothing bad ever happens. Except somehow 15 year-old Veerapen, half Tamil, half-Jew and the fastest runner in the school has just helped bury Moon Suzuki, the girl he loved. His Dad has run off with an optician and his Mum's going off the rails
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