Jamie Quatro’s debut novel (she has previously released a collection of short stories) is a conflict of following your heart's desire versus your responsibility to the life you’ve already chosen. Something that’s been done many, many times, but perhaps not from this kind of angle and certainly not with this much punch. A religious scholar and writer, Maggie, becomes engrossed in a love affair with a poet, James, and uses her Christianity to defend their actions as well as her reason for remaining loyal to her husband of twenty years and two children. Told in a variety of formats, with no quotations for dialogue, and in a non-linear chronology, I found that this didn’t annoy me but in fact was the most effective way to tell this story. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a story with as much emotional intensity in such a small space as this. Uncomfortable, sensual, provocative, profound, intense, riveting and I think most importantly, relatable. As “human” as it gets. I read it in one sitting.
January 2018 Indie Next List
“I'm presently gobsmacked by and head-over-heels in love with Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon, a gorgeous, searing first novel that takes on themes of grace, God, desire, truth, and family. Told in an array of tenses and forms that range from poetry to e-mail (and everything in between), Fire Sermon takes great risks stylistically, as well as topically, leaving nothing stable in its wake. It is unsparing and uncompromising, singular, innervating, and strong, and it is a deeply, wonderfully stirring work of art.”
— Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
"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."--Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You Maggie is entirely devoted to her husband Thomas, their two beautiful children, and to God--until what begins as a platonic intellectual and spiritual exchange between writer Maggie and poet James transforms into an erotically-charged bond that challenges Maggie's sense of loyalty and morality, drawing her deeper into the darkness of desire. A daring debut novel of obsession, lust, and salvation by the highly lauded author of the story collection, I Want To Show You More, Fire Sermon is a tour de force that charts with bold intimacy and immersive sensuality the life of a married woman in the grip of a magnetic affair.
About the Author
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.