Fire Sermon

Fire Sermon

by Jamie Quatro


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“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 longingfor 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802127044
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 442,071
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt

June 2017

Dear James:

Sometimes, when I’m home alone, I listen to myself repeat our dates aloud, like a litany:

Nashville, July 2014
New York, September 2016
Chicago, April 2017

(Lord, lamp unto my feet and light unto my path—how is it possible?)

I’m still reading the blue book. It’s painful, the way she writes about loss. I can only take it in small amounts. The ancients, she says, disagreed as to whether we perceived objects, or objects perceived us. Do our eyes throw out a beam, like a lantern, that illuminates them? Or do the objects send out rays which, reaching our eyes, reveal them to us—as if they’re looking back? Plato, she writes, split the difference: a visual fire burning between the eye and the object it beholds.
I cannot help applying these ideas to love. Its location in a physical sense. Was it something we carried in ourselves—something I sent out to you, and you sent out to me? Or did it exist independently, a potential fire hovering in the middle space between us, appearing only when we looked at one another? In which case, the second we stopped looking, the fire disappeared. Hence my use of the past tense. (But dear God I want to use the present. I want to keep looking, to gaze at length.)

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