Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Two-Step Devil

by Jamie Quatro

“Jamie Quatro is a writer of sinuous, muscular power and grace. Two-Step Devil is a starkly gorgeous story of God and loss and art and love, and her best book yet.”—Lauren Groff

From a New York Times Notable “writer of great originality” comes a bold new novel about love, faith and two societal outsiders whose lives converge in the contemporary American South

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date September 10, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6313-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date September 10, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6314-1
  • US List Price $27.00

The “fearless” (New Yorker) and “distinctive” (San Francisco Chronicle) author of I Want to Show You More and Fire Sermon—whose recently published stories in The New Yorker and The Paris Review have brought her new attention—is known for her sharp, seductive prose and masterful exploration of the divine and the carnal in daily life. In Two-Step Devil, Quatro delivers a striking and formally inventive story of the unlikely relationship between two strangers on the margins of society and the shadowy forces that threaten their futures.

In 2014, in Lookout Mountain, Alabama, the Prophet—a seventy-year-old man who paints his visions—lives off the grid in a cabin near the Georgia border. While scrounging for materials at the local scrapyard, the Prophet sees a car pull up to an abandoned gas station. In the back seat is a teenage girl with zip ties on her wrists, a girl he realizes he must rescue from her current life. Her name is Michael, and the Prophet feels certain that she is a messenger sent by God to take his end-time warnings to the White House. Michael finds herself in the Prophet’s remote, art-filled cabin, and as their uncertain dynamic evolves into tender friendship, she is offered a surprising opportunity to escape her past—and perhaps change her future.

Moving through the worlds of the Prophet, the girl, and a beguiling devil figure who dances in the corner of their lives, Two-Step Devil is a propulsive, philosophical examination of fate and faith that dares to ask what salvation, if any, can be found in our modern world.

Tags Literary

Praise for Two-Step Devil:

A Most Anticipated Book of 2024 from Lit Hub

“Jamie Quatro is a writer of sinuous, muscular power and grace. Two-Step Devil is a starkly gorgeous story of God and loss and art and love, and her best book yet.”—Lauren Groff

“In this spellbinding story of good and evil, revelation and madness, Jamie Quatro ponders all the ways in which innocence and vulnerability can be exploited in a culture that deliberately turns from human suffering. Beautiful and brave and brilliant, shot through with mystery and love, Two-Step Devil is a novel that only Jamie Quatro could have written — and only, I suspect, with an angel peering over her shoulder.”—Margaret Renkl 

“Jamie Quatro’s Two-Step Devil compelled me with almost supernatural force. I could not turn away. It’s a book that wrestles with the biggest questions about sin and salvation, violation and agency–striding fearlessly into narrative and political terrain almost always treated with knee-jerk, agenda-driven simplicity–but the pulse at the core of this breathtaking novel is unequivocally human, tender and alive–formally daring and utterly riveting.”—Leslie Jamison

“Glorious, rich, mad, wonderful, daring and epic in its scope, Two-Step Devil is simply thrilling to read.”—Samantha Harvey

“Jamie Quatro is one of the finest, and most fearless, American writers currently working. Her new novel, Two-Step Devil, is, among other things, an intense exploration of the Christian faith, a deeply empathetic portrait of a weirdo, and a peerlessly innovative modern-day theodicy. I’ve never read anything like it. I suspect no one has.”—Tom Bissell

“The bold, ingenious, impassioned Two-Step Devil takes risks—tonally, formally and theologically—that would terrify a less masterly writer than Jamie Quatro. Her unforgettable characters, her meticulous observation of backwoods folklife and her wide-ranging intellect come together to create a novel that’s a wild and rich entertainment, a profound interrogation of God’s ways to Man, and–perhaps most daring of all—a story of simple human compassion.”—David Gates 

“The characters in Jamie Quatro’s Two-Step Devil will surely join the pantheon of Hazel Motes, Temple Drake, and Howard Finster. They are their own peculiar theological texts, defying doctrinal consistency—and thank God for that.”—Charles Marsh

“Reading this novel is like holding on to a live wire. Jamie Quatro is the real thing. The music of these sentences lights my hair on fire.”—Garth Greenwell

Praise for Fire Sermon:

“Fantastic . . . Erotic, spiritual, poetic.”—New York Times

“Startingly original . . . Quatro makes us feel the absolute necessity of desire.”—Atlantic

Praise for I Want to Show You More:

“Remarkable . . . [these stories] move between carnality and spirit like some franker, modernized Flannery O’Connor.”—The New Yorker