Celebrating Art and Queer Culture in West Philly: A Dive into "Housemates"

Welcome to another installment of Read This Book, where we explore captivating reads that deserve a space in your To-Be-Read (TBR) pile. This time, we have an exquisite pick for Pride Month – a compelling novel that intertwines art, identity, and the vibrant queer community of West Philadelphia.

Introducing "Housemates" by Emma Copley Eisenberg

Emma Copley Eisenberg, known for her genre-defying nonfiction hit The Third Rainbow Girl, makes her debut in fiction with Housemates. This novel is poised to captivate readers with its portrayal of two twenty-something artists navigating life and art in the queer scene of West Philly.

The Journey Begins

The story centers on Bernie, a photographer, who moves into a shared house after responding to an ad. Here, Bernie meets Leah, a writer. Both characters grapple with finding direction and purpose in their art. Their growing friendship blossoms into a potent artistic partnership.

Road Trip to Artistic Discovery

After Bernie’s photography mentor passes away, the duo embarks on a road trip to rural Pennsylvania. Bernie’s role is to sort through the mentor’s estate while keeping a photographic journal of the journey. Leah supports by writing brief notes that add depth to the photos. This collaboration deepens their connection and sheds light on the complexities of Pennsylvania's diverse cultures.

“Housemates is a love letter to the West Philly queer scene, critiquing and celebrating it with humor and affection.”

A Reflection on Art and Class

Housemates raises essential questions about the creation, appreciation, and accessibility of art. It scrutinizes who gets to tell their story and whose work receives recognition. The novel explores the intersection of art and class, highlighting the financial and emotional investments required to produce meaningful work.

The Audiobook Experience

The audiobook, narrated by the renowned Marin Ireland, provides an immersive experience for listeners. Ireland's narration brings Bernie and Leah’s characters to life with a straightforward style that enhances the story's emotional depth. Her performance allows listeners to delve deeper into the characters' psyches and the novel's thematic layers.

For more detailed insights and an exploration of similar reading experiences, check out the original article on Book Riot.

Merch for Book Lovers

If you’re as passionate about books as we are, don’t forget to check out the unique bookish merchandise available at Liam and Lore. They offer a delightful range of items that any book lover would cherish, from literary-themed apparel to book accessories that complement your reading adventures.

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June 16, 2024 — Kristin James