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Fire Sermon
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Published:
Grove Atlantic 2018
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description
This “startlingly original” novel from the author of I Want to Show You More offers “a profound, and profoundly strange, meditation on desire” (Claire Dederer, The Atlantic).
Jamie Quatro’s remarkable debut story collection, I Want to Show You More, announcing her as “a writer of great originality” (New York Times Book Review). Now, with her first novel, Quatro delivers a portrait of female desire 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 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 into the depths 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, “full of vivid, mercurial prose, breathes new life into [its] subject and sets it gloriously ablaze” (Claire Luchette, O Magazine).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/09/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802165558
ASIN:
B074HFR4R6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Quatro. (2018). Fire Sermon. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jamie Quatro. 2018. Fire Sermon. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jamie Quatro, Fire Sermon. Grove Atlantic, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Quatro. Fire Sermon. Grove Atlantic, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:15:22
Date Updated:
Sep 07, 2023 08:28:09
Last Metadata Check:
May 19, 2024 09:48:14
Last Metadata Change:
Oct 01, 2023 11:49:36
Last Availability Check:
May 19, 2024 09:48:17
Last Availability Change:
Mar 27, 2024 15:29:52
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
May 24, 2024 02:15:05

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      • bioText: JAMIE QUATRO is the author of I Want To Show You More. She is a visiting professor in the Sewanee School of Letters MFA program, a contributing editor at Oxford American, and lives with her husband and children in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
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title
Fire Sermon
fullDescription
This “startlingly original” novel from the author of I Want to Show You More offers “a profound, and profoundly strange, meditation on desire” (Claire Dederer, The Atlantic).
Jamie Quatro’s remarkable debut story collection, I Want to Show You More, announcing her as “a writer of great originality” (New York Times Book Review). Now, with her first novel, Quatro delivers a portrait of female desire 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 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 into the depths 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, “full of vivid, mercurial prose, breathes new life into [its] subject and sets it gloriously ablaze” (Claire Luchette, O Magazine).
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Lily King, author of Euphoria
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Samantha Harvey, author of Dear, Thief
      • content:
        "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Donna Seaman, Booklist
      • content: "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."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 1, 2017
        An intellectual writer wrestles with her infidelity, and her loss of interest in her husband, in the context of her Christianity."I imagine writing all this down and giving the manuscript to my agent...This has been done to death, she says. I won't be able to sell this...So you see: There is no one left to whom I can confess. No one who will listen or understand. There is you, and there is God. I'm not sure, anymore, there's a difference." The person whom Quatro's (I Want to Show You More, 2013) narrator, Maggie, is addressing--and is having trouble distinguishing from the deity--is James, a Princeton University-based poet she met via a fan letter, then carried on a heated correspondence with, followed by a handful of live encounters. The story, mostly set between 2013 and 2018, has been put in the blender (if there is a God, can he bring back chronological order to contemporary fiction?) and parceled out in vignettes, emails, letters, prayers, transcripts of therapy sessions, and the "fire sermon" of the book's title. As the narrator suspects in the lines quoted above, this will be a lot to swallow for some readers, religious faith creating an extremely grandiose context for the tossing and turning Maggie goes through as she deals with her desire and her guilt. "Would we have allowed ourselves to do, inside a church, what we did in Chicago? What might have happened, had we done those things in a sacred space? I imagine statues beginning to weep, blood curling down the carved marble ankles on the crucifix above the altar, For this moment I died, for this moment I am always dying, every moment for all eternity I am bleeding so they can sit in the pew in this sanctuary...he sliding a hand inside the ripped knee of her jeans to feel the skin of her thigh...."The people who connect with this debut novel are going to love it, and everyone else is going to roll their eyes and throw it across the room.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 6, 2017
        Quatro’s resonant debut novel (following the story collection I Want to Show You More) starts with a couple, married to other people, heading to a hotel. As the text quickly informs, “the story begins where others end,” with “a happily-ever-after” nod to the marriage plot that ends a typical love story before disillusionment creeps in. Then the story moves back in time to the wedding of Maggie, 21, to Thomas, 24. So good is Maggie, so in awe of God, that she feels compelled to marry the first man she sleeps with. Which works out—mostly. He’s a good father and a supportive husband, but she can’t have an orgasm “unless she distances herself from him, in her mind, picturing another man and woman.” Life limps on for years, and Maggie begins writing to James, a successful writer and fellow Christian. They talk of books, God, family; he critiques her poetry. Finally the infidelity turns physical, bringing orgasms and guilt. The story switches between life before and after James and Maggie consummate their affair. Though some readers might be put off by the preciousness of the characters (they discuss “apophatic” literature and read Moby-Dick to their young children), Maggie’s quandary—should she grab happiness if it causes tremendous pain and risk losing her connection to God?—is affecting and memorable. Quatro’s novel will appeal particularly to readers interested in a dissection of how one reconciles belief with desire. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 1, 2017
        Following her intensely imagined short story collection I Want to Show You More (2013), Quatro presents a stunning first novel about faith and yearning in the crucible of a strained marriage and a brief affair. Writer Maggie is living a cushy life in Nashville with a loving husband and two young children when she attends a conference and meets James, a poet equally blessed in prosperity, marriage, and parenthood. What begins as a union of literary minds flares into erotic passion, but they step back, lassoed by questions about morality and religion, belief and creativity. Quatro charts Maggie's tormented grappling with desire and conscience in excruciatingly intimate scenes, burning memories and visions, therapy sessions, e-mail exchanges, and journal entries. The lyric cadence of Quatro's writing gets into one's veins as she stealthily transforms the most common of plotlines into a scorching analysis of the agony of temptation, prayer, the relationship between Eros and the divine, and a renewed sense of holiness. Maggie longs for a return to a viable literature of faith. Quatro infuses that tradition with fresh, molten energy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2017

        Quatro's unusual take on infidelity tells the story of Maggie Ellmann, a theology scholar in a long-term marriage with Thomas. Their sexual incompatibility is the major strain on their otherwise stable union. Maggie begins a correspondence with poet James, which evolves into an intense intellectual and emotional connection. Although (or perhaps because) they meet in person only a handful of times and have a single sexual encounter, Maggie remains fixated on this affair, continually rehashing it in her mind and to an unseen therapist. Her religious faith both compounds her guilt and feeds her self-justification in unexpected ways. Through Maggie's stream-of-consciousness narration (which fluctuates between first and third person), Quatro explores the erotic elements of religious devotion and how sex can be seen as an expression of a desire to be closer to God. VERDICT Theology and mysticism are deeply woven into the fabric of this beautifully written novel. The unconventional take on topics that can be touchy and uncomfortable for many people means this book isn't for everyone, but adventurous readers who don't mind frank sex scenes and sincere religious discussion in the same book may want to read and reread.--Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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This “startlingly original” novel from the author of I Want to Show You More offers “a profound, and profoundly strange, meditation on desire” (Claire Dederer, The Atlantic).
Jamie Quatro’s remarkable debut story collection, I Want to Show You More, announcing her as “a writer of great originality” (New York Times Book Review). Now, with her first novel, Quatro delivers a portrait of female desire 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 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 into the depths of desire.
Using an array of...
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