Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

Fire Sermon

by Jamie Quatro

The highly anticipated, provocative debut novel from the “fearless” (New Yorker) and “distinctive” (San Francisco Chronicle) Jamie Quatro, Fire Sermon charts with bold intimacy and immersive sensuality the life of a married woman in the grip of a magnetic affair.

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date January 09, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2704-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $24.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date January 09, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6555-8
  • US List Price $24.00

About the Book

Can I sing about what’s waiting on
the far side of fidelity?
The wide door-swing, the unfurling sky?

Jamie Quatro’s remarkable first book of stories, I Want to Show You More, published to spectacular reviews, announcing her arrival to American letters as “a writer of great originality” (New York Times Book Review). Now, with her debut novel, Fire Sermon, Quatro delivers a startlingly unique portrait of an obsession and the complexities of a marriage.

Married twenty years to Thomas and living in Nashville with their two children, Maggie is drawn ineluctably into a passionate affair while still fiercely committed to her husband and family. What begins as a platonic intellectual and spiritual exchange between writer Maggie and poet James, gradually transforms into an emotional and erotically-charged bond that challenges Maggie’s sense of loyalty and morality, drawing her deeper into the darkness of desire.

Using an array of narrative techniques and written in spare, elegant prose, Jamie Quatro gives us a compelling account of one woman’s emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual yearnings—unveiling the impulses and contradictions that reside in us all. Fire Sermon is an unflinchingly honest and formally daring debut novel from a writer of enormous talent

Tags Literary

Praise

“What an absolutely beautiful and moving book. I started reading Fire Sermon and literally, was cranky when I couldn’t get back to it. The writing is nothing less than masterful. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Jamie Quatro but now she’s taking my fandom to another level.”—Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn

“I devoured this novel! Quatro is a fearless marvel. An exquisite story of female desire, faith, and commitment and one of the most haunting portraits of a marriage I’ve ever read.” —Lily King, author of Euphoria

“It would be difficult to overstate the wonder I felt while reading this novel. It’s among the most beautiful books I’ve ever read about longing—for beauty, for sex, for God, for a coherent life. Great writers write with their whole lives, with everything they have seen and thought and felt, with their obsessions and their desires; their books have the density and richness of existence. Jamie Quatro is a such a writer, and Fire Sermon is such a book.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“This book is bright and dark by turns but always shot through with a vital, unerring grace. Plus it’s about love and death, sex and God. What more could a reader want?” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation

“It’s rare, to the point of near non-existence, to find a book that has such literary weight and heft, yet reads like a sonnet. I look at it in puzzlement, wondering how Jamie Quatro gave such breadth, depth and intensity in so few words. And it’s funny, and real, and painful, so painful. Also a shot of light. An education. A mirror. Terrifying.” —Samantha Harvey, author of Dear, Thief

Praise for I Want To Show You More:

“[With its] impressive agility and inventiveness . . .I Want to Show You More is an obsessive first collection that feels like a fifth or sixth. It is a dogged, brutally thoughtful piece of work, and gives us a writer of great originality and apparent artistic maturity who seems to have come out of nowhere. . . . Strange, thrilling, and disarmingly honest . . . Quatro hits the right balance, giving us the closet thing I’ve seen in years to Donald Barthelme’s insouciance, sweetness, and ominousness. . . . Provides the most engaging literary treatment of Christianity since O’Connor, without a hint of the condescension the subject often receives in contemporary fiction. . . . [Quatro’s] flights of fancy are never ostentatious or arbitrary; instead they grow naturally out of the emotional and psychological states of her characters. Readers may hope to see more of this hallucinatory mode from her, but—if they’re like me—they will welcome whatever they can get.” —J. Robert Lennon, The New York Times Book Review

“The best stories in Jamie Quatro’s first collection, I Want to Show You More, are about adultery. They are passionate, sensuous, savagely intense, and remarkable for their brave dualism. . . . Moves between carnality and spirit like some franker, modernized Flannery O’Connor tale . . . Quatro has a poet’s compound eye . . . [and] fearless lyricism. . . . Expansive, joyful, with forgiveness supplanting ruination. Who needs the New Testament? In Quatro’s world, hard Genesis is always making way for the softer Song of Solomon: ‘I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.’” —James Wood, The New Yorker

“Vivid . . . Arresting . . . Quatro very much establishes her own distinctive voice and style. . . . A luminous collection that announces a unique literary talent. Quatro’s stories dazzle and shine.” —S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle

“Subtle, sexy, and reflective . . . Quatro is incisive on technology and our new varieties of instant gratification. . . . Quatro’s stories [have] led some to compare her work to that of Walker Percy and Flannery O’Connor. I also picked up metal-detector traces of Jayne Anne Phillips . . . and of Lorrie Moore’s pulverizing wit. . . . In order to be good at big things, writes must be good at small ones. Quatro’s details resonate. . . . There’s so much in these stories that’s shocking. Yet there’s so much solace.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Haunting and sharp . . . [reminiscent] of the dark-meets-light style of Lydia Davis or Alice Munro—but it leaves room for zingers, too. Quatro is so good . . . the title of this debut collection isn’t just a tease.” —Julie Vadnal, Elle

“Delicious reading . . . [An] impressive debut about the shortcomings of people who wrestle with angels, and usually lose.” —Amy Gentry, Chicago Tribune

“Shattering and exceptional . . . The effect of this intersection of the domestic with sex and with ecstatic faith was, for me, a freakily new reading experience. . . . Quatro shoves us close to the grotesqueness of our desires. . . . Tense and musical.” —Karen Long, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“Occasionally, a first book of short stories can shake the world awake with its extraordinarily singular vision and voice, reinvigorating language. Jamie Quatro’s I Want to Show You More is such a book—and holy fuck, is it. . . . Startling, heartrending, and extraordinarily sexy . . . [with] allegorical scene[s] worthy of Kafka or Donald Barthelme.” —Baynard Woods, Baltimore City Paper

“Much of the tension in these stories stems from characters realizing that what they’ve long considered God’s plan can theoretically be molded to match their own desires. What Quatro renders so accurately is the power and pain that comes with such a realization. . . . These stories are bold (and wise) in their portrayal of how, when we want to find a sign, we can usually make ourselves find it. Many comparisons will be made between Quatro’s and Flannery O’Connor’s treatments of religion and faith; they are all accurate and deserved. But this book pushes past that inheritance by examining how it holds up it in our time, when we’re effortlessly connected by technology, when affairs (or almost-affairs) can be conducted safely (or almost safely) from hundreds of miles away.” —Jennine Capo Crucet, The L Magazine

“Dark, bizarre, and highly sexual . . . Some stories are uncomfortable, pushing the limit with their sheer oddity and disregard for social norms. But isn’t that the point?” —Lindsay Deutsch, USA Today (3 stars)

“Quatro has accomplished a rare paradox: [her] collection is stitched together and, yet, it’s loose and baggy, letting in a lot of surprise . . . the variety of stories and styles soliciting and intensifying the readers imaginative engagement.” —Nina Schuyler, The Rumpus

“Deeply intriguing . . . Subtly metamorphosing . . . Shimmers with touches of Flannery O’Connor and George Saunders . . . [Quatro’s] compelling moral dilemmas yoke bizarreness with authenticity.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist

Excerpt

Sometimes when the house is empty
I practice saying the words out loud.
Different ways of saying it, depending
On the listener.
I committed adultery,
I say to my mother.
I fell in love with another man,
I say to my best friend.
We fucked, it meant nothing,
I say to Thomas.

It was the best thing,
I say to you. In all my life,
The very best thing.

Author Tour Dates

Thursday

01/11

Chattanooga, TN

THE SOUTHERN LIT ALLIANCE & STAR LINE BOOKS
In conversation with Dr. John Grammer
301 E. 11th St. Suite 301

7:00 PM
Tuesday

01/23

Oxford, MS

SQUARE BOOKS
160 Courthouse Square

5:00 PM
Thursday

01/25

Jackson, MS

LEMURIA BOOK STORE
4465 N Highway 55

5:00 PM
Friday

02/02

Cambridge, MA

HARVARD BOOK STORE
In conversation with Michelle Hoover
1256 Massachusetts Ave

7:00 PM
Monday

02/05

Iowa City, IA

PRAIRIE LIGHTS BOOKSTORE
In conversation with Garth Greenwell
15 South Dubuque St.

Thursday

02/08

Nashville, TN

PARNASSUS BOOKSTORE
3900 Hillsboro Pike

Sunday

02/11

Washington, DC

POLITICS & PROSE
5015 Connecticut Ave NW

3:00 PM
Tuesday

02/13

Atlanta, GA

SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN
Co-presented by A Cappella Books
The Ivy Hall
179 Ponce de Leon Ave

Thursday

02/15

Athens, GA

AVID BOOKSHOP
493 Prince Ave

6:00 PM
Friday

03/09

Tampa, FL

AWP Conference and Book Fair
Tampa Convention Center
333 S Franklin St,

1:00 pm
Wednesday

03/21

Charlottesville, VA
(March 21-25)

VIRGINIA FESTIVAL OF THE BOOK
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Wednesday

04/04

Washington, DC

POLITICS & PROSE
In conversation with Leslie Jamison
5015 Connecticut Ave NW

Thursday

04/12

Grand Rapids, MI
(April 12-14)

FESTIVAL OF FAITH AND WRITING
Calvin College

 

Thursday

04/26

Little Rock, AR
(April 26-29)

ARKANSAS LITERARY FESTIVAL
Little Rock Public Library, Main Branch