I Want to Show You More

I Want to Show You More

3.0 5
by Jamie Quatro
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. . . . She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro.”—David Means

“Fasten your seat belt:

Overview

“A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. . . . She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro.”—David Means

“Fasten your seat belt: Jamie Quatro is a writer of great talent who knows how to take a dark turn without ever tapping the brakes and then bring you back into daylight with breathtaking precision. These amazing stories explore the human boundaries between the physical world and the spiritual—lust, betrayal, and loss in perfect balance with love, redemption, and grace.”—Jill McCorkle


Sharp-edged and fearless, mixing white-hot yearning with daring humor, Jamie Quatro’s debut collection is a beautiful and disquieting portrait of infidelity, faith, and family.

The hypnotically intimate, urgent stories in I Want to Show You More are about lives stretched between spirituality and sexuality in the New American South. In narrative modes ranging from the traditional to the fabulist, these stories are interconnected explorations of God, illicit sex, raising children—and running. Jamie Quatro’s stories confront us with dark theological complexities, fractured marriages, and mercurial temptations: a wife comes home with her husband to find her lover’s corpse in their bed; a teenager attends a Bible Camp where he seduces a young cancer survivor with hopes of curing his own rare condition; marathon runners on a Civil War battlefield must carry phallic statues and are punished if they choose to unload their burdens; a girl’s embarrassment over attending a pool party with her quadriplegic mother turns to fierce devotion under the pitying gaze of other guests; and a husband asks his wife to show him how she would make love to another man.

I Want to Show You More unleashes Quatro’s exhilarating talent for exposing the quiet terrors of modern life with stunning and subversive energy.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Dwight Garner
…subtle, sexy and reflective…The eschatological awareness in Ms. Quatro's stories has 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 in these narratives…and of Lorrie Moore's pulverizing wit…There's so much in these stories that's shocking. Yet there's so much solace.
The New York Times Book Review - J. Robert Lennon
Jamie Quatro's 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. Each story draws from a small pool of particular and unexpectedly resonant themes—Christianity, marital infidelity, cancer, running—and examines and recombines them with impressive agility and inventiveness. It is a strange, thrilling and disarmingly honest piece of work.
From the Publisher

"[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."—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.'"—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."—San Francisco Chronicle

"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."—Elle

"Delicious reading . . . [An] impressive debutabout the shortcomings of people who wrestle with angels, and usually lose."—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."—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."—Baltimore City Paper

“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?”—USA Today (3 stars)

"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."—The L Magazine

"Deeply intriguing . . . Subtly metamorphosing . . . Shimmers with touches of Flannery O'Connor and George Saunders . . . [Quatro's] compelling moral dilemmas yoke bizarreness with authenticity."—Booklist

"A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Jamie Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. They take you by the heart and throat, shake you awake, and ask you to ponder the mysteries of love, parenthood, and marriage. She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro."—David Means

"Fasten your seat belt: Jamie Quatro is a writer of great talent who knows how to take a dark turn without ever tapping the brakes and then bring you back into daylight with breathtaking precision. These amazing stories explore the human boundaries between the physical world and the spiritual—lust, betrayal, and loss in perfect balance with love, redemption, and grace."—Jill McCorkle

"Quatro maps a twinkling constellation of modern-day desire, paranoia, and grief against an inky background of Souther religious and historical fervor. But the gothic beauty and bittersweet humor of her style are the real stars of this arresting debut."—NY1

"The characters in these absolutely unique stories live at a nearly intolerable level of intensity, stretched on a self-created rack between faith and sexuality—and they’re even smart enough to be conflicted about whether or not there’s a conflict. Jamie Quatro spares us neither the strangeness of their experience nor its discomfiting familiarity. She observes them with a cool, comic yet compassionate eye, and shapes the raw material of their passionate strivings with a steady, skillful hand—a miracle in which any reader can believe."—David Gates

"Yowza . . . This one is going to be big. . . . It's so good, I kind of want to lick it."—Book Riot

"These are stories that make you stop whatever you're doing and read. They show us who we are, at our better moments and those other moments, too. These are delightful stories for this brand new century, from a writer unafraid to face it. I salute a brilliant new American writer."—Tom Franklin

"With her wild and dark imagination, Quatro has crafted highly original, thought-provoking, and deeply moving stories about faith, marriage, infidelity, sex, and death. This is bold, daring fiction."—The Columbus Dispatch

"Each one of the stories in this astonishing collection is exquisitely crafted, the characters here as complex, real, and finely drawn as you’ll find. No hyperbole here: Jamie Quatro is simply an outstanding new talent."—Elizabeth Crane

"Jamie Quatro's stories are about religion and children and sex and death and infidelity and God, and together they create one of the most authentically horrifying portraits of modern American adulthood I’ve ever read. Did I mention these stories are also very, very funny? Ladies and gentlemen, this is what short fiction is for."—Tom Bissell

"Quatro has mastered the art of the double-take—that whiplash of recognition that gets the reader first at the level of the sentence, then, with extra reward, at story’s end. The author pushes fearlessly, cape close to horns, blade held high and at risky angles. An impressive debut."—Sven Birkerts

"From under the placid surface of Jamie Quarto’s stories sentences of astonishing strangeness startle the pond and serve as reminders of the dangerous, unknowable human heart. Waves of tenderness and humor also figure in the experience of reading this first collection. Here is a new talent with work made to last."—Christine Schutt

"A remarkable debut by an important new voice . . . Quatro [has] a mature understanding of how we handle disappointment and how, quite often, we take refuge in the most unhelpful places. How we feel doesn't affect our lives nearly so much as where we take our feelings."—The Toronto Star

Library Journal
There is a recurring theme of cheating wives in Quatro's debut collection of short stories, though often mere emotional unfaithfulness is enough to induce crises of faith and/or conscience in her deeply religious characters. A young mother dead or dying of cancer also makes an appearance in a few of the stories. Though most of the work here is traditional, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pavement" has a dystopian/sf bent and reads like an homage to Shirley Jackson's classic "The Lottery" crossed with The Hunger Games. While interesting, this and the more experimental "Decomposition" are the weakest pieces in the collection. However, they are more than balanced by Quatro's unforgettable small family dramas, which lay her characters bare. In the exquisitely told "Tennessee," an old woman goes to mail a letter to President Bush in what turns out to be the last hours of her life. A teenage boy deals with severe anxiety, faith, and first love in "Sinkhole," a breathtaking story told entirely from his perspective. VERDICT Quatro has created a series of gorgeously crafted, deeply felt tales. These are small stories with large impact.—Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802193742
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
574,210
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


Caught Up

The vision started coming when I was nine. It was always the same: I was alone, standing on the brick patio in front of our house, watching thick clouds above the mountains turn shades of red and purple, then draw themselves together and spiral. Whirlpool, hurricane, galaxy. The wind picked up, my hair whipped my face, and I felt—knew—that the world was on the cusp of a cataclysm. Then came a tugging in my middle, as if I were a kite about to be yanked up by a string attached just below my navel. Takeoff was imminent; all I had to do was surrender—close my eyes, relax my limbs—and I would be catapulted, belly-first, into the vortex.

The vision ended there. I never left the patio.

When I told my mother, she said, God speaks to his children in dreams. She said we should always be ready for the Lord’s return: lead a clean life and stay busy with our work, keeping an eye skyward. I pictured my mother up on our roof, sitting in a folding chair, snapping beans.

I don’t remember when the vision stopped coming. Somewhere along the way I forgot about it. I grew up and married a good man who cries at baptisms and makes our children carry spiders outside instead of smashing them; who never goes to sleep without kissing some part of my body. He says he wants to know, on his deathbed, that his lips have touched every square inch. In grad school, when I told him I was attracted to one of his friends who’d made a pass at me, he said, “Show me what you would do with him, if you could.”

Three years ago—seventeen years into this marriage—I fell in love with a man who lives nine hundred miles away. Ten months of talking daily with this man, until finally he bought train tickets and arranged a meeting date. We’ll just—pick a car, he said on the phone. Any car, so long as it’s empty.

The day he suggested this, I called my mother and told her about the affair. I told her I wanted the infidelity to stop, but planned to keep the man as a friend. I said I loved my husband and wanted to protect my marriage. What I didn’t say was that I only knew I was supposed to want to protect it; thought that if I did the right thing, eventually my heart would follow.

My mother was quiet.

Please tell me you won’t keep him, she said. In any way.

Are the children all right? she said. Can you put one of them on?

After we hung up, I went for a long run, then walked the last block up our street’s steep incline. A cloud covered the sun so the entire length of pavement was in shade, and then the cloud pulled back, all at once; the light sped down the street toward me, and in those few seconds it looked like the road itself was moving, a conveyor belt that would scoop me up from underneath. The old vision returned. The upward tug in my belly. I recognized the feeling—what I felt every time the other man, the far away man, told me what he would do if he had me in person, my wrists pinned over my head.

It would be devotional, he’d said. I would lay myself on your tongue like a communion wafer.

This time, in the vision, the other man was with me. I would like to say he was standing beside me—that we were equals—but he was the size of a toddler. I was holding him. He was limp and barely breathing, his skin gray, the color of my two-year-old son’s face the night we rushed him to the ER for croup, and I knew the reason I was about to be caught up was because I was supposed to carry the man to God and lay him in His lap so that God could . . . what? I didn’t know.
Bullshit, the man said when I told him about the vision. I’m already there.
My turn, he said. You, me, walking in the woods. It’s winter. We’ve just had two feet of snow. We’re playing together like kids. I’m chasing you, and when I catch you, I push you into a drift and lie on top of you. Above us the sky rips open and God is there, smiling down, and what he is saying, over and over, is Yes.

I wish I knew God your way, I said.

You will, he said. All you have to do is show up. Grand Central, February thirteenth, nine a.m.

Tell me you’ll be there, he said.

Two years later, when I called my mother to tell her how much I missed the man, how on the one hand I wished I had gone through with our planned meeting yet at the same time regretted even the phone sex, because if we hadn’t done that we might have been able to save the friendship; when I told her that something inside me was weeping all the time, and that I hoped there would be a literal Second Coming and Consummated Kingdom because then the man and I could spend eternity just talking, she said, Wait—phone sex? And I said, I thought I told you, and she said, You told me you had an affair, and I said, No I didn’t, we didn’t, not in that way, and she said, I must have assumed, and I said, I can’t believe all this time you’ve been thinking I went through with it.

You might as well have, she said. It’s all the same in God’s eyes.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Jamie Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. They take you by the heart and throat, shake you awake, and ask you to ponder the mysteries of love, parenthood, and marriage. She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro.”—David Means

“Fasten your seat belt: Jamie Quatro is a writer of great talent who knows how to take a dark turn without ever tapping the brakes and then bring you back into daylight with breathtaking precision. These amazing stories explore the human boundaries between the physical world and the spiritual—lust, betrayal, and loss in perfect balance with love, redemption, and grace.”—Jill McCorkle

“The characters in these absolutely unique stories live at a nearly intolerable level of intensity, stretched on a self-created rack between faith and sexuality—and they’re even smart enough to be conflicted about whether or not there’s a conflict. Jamie Quatro spares us neither the strangeness of their experience nor its discomfiting familiarity. She observes them with a cool, comic yet compassionate eye, and shapes the raw material of their passionate strivings with a steady, skillful hand—a miracle in which any reader can believe.”—David Gates

"Yowza . . . This one is going to be big. . . . It's so good, I kind of want to lick it."—Book Riot

"These are stories that make you stop whatever you're doing and read. They show us who we are, at our better moments and those other moments, too. These are delightful stories for this brand new century, from a writer unafraid to face it. I salute a brilliant new American writer."—Tom Franklin

“Each one of the stories in this astonishing collection is exquisitely crafted, the characters here as complex, real, and finely drawn as you’ll find. No hyperbole here: Jamie Quatro is simply an outstanding new talent.”—Elizabeth Crane

“Jamie Quatro's stories are about religion and children and sex and death and infidelity and God, and together they create one of the most authentically horrifying portraits of modern American adulthood I’ve ever read. Did I mention these stories are also very, very funny? Ladies and gentlemen, this is what short fiction is for.”—Tom Bissell

“Quatro has mastered the art of the double-take—that whiplash of recognition that gets the reader first at the level of the sentence, then, with extra reward, at story’s end. The author pushes fearlessly, cape close to horns, blade held high and at risky angles. An impressive debut.”—Sven Birkerts

"From under the placid surface of Jamie Quarto’s stories sentences of astonishing strangeness startle the pond and serve as reminders of the dangerous, unknowable human heart. Waves of tenderness and humor also figure in the experience of reading this first collection. Here is a new talent with work made to last."—Christine Schutt

Meet the Author

Jamie Quatro’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Oxford American, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction and the winner of the 2011 American Short Fiction Story Contest, she is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and was the Georges and Anne Borchardt Scholar at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Quatro holds graduate degrees from the College of William and Mary and Bennington College.

www.jamiequatro.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

I Want to Show You More 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
ChocolateandCabernet More than 1 year ago
Well written short stories, these tales are not for everyone. Most definitely adult literature, some stories are quite good, others are not quite so. Overall, it is a decent collection, but not my cup of tea.
ChinesePizza More than 1 year ago
Most stories here involve women living near Chattanooga, TN, who have what I can only call peculiar religious and sexual impulses. Perhaps this is a 21st century version of Kafka, who I also don't much care for, but these people don't seem to be members of the same species as the people I know. Give the author style points only.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will not buy it now because no one said anything about the book in their recommendations.  DAH! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi