I Want to Show You More
An obsessive first collection that feels like a fifth or sixth. . . . Strange, thrilling, and disarmingly honest.”J. Robert Lennon, The New York Times Book Review
Sharp-edged and fearless, mixing white-hot yearning with daring humor, Quatro’s stories upend and shake out our views on infidelity, faith, and family.
Set around Lookout Mountain on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, Quatro’s hypnotically revealing stories range from the traditional to the fabulist as they expose lives torn between spirituality and sexuality in the New American South. These fifteen linked tales confront readers with fractured marriages, mercurial temptations, and dark theological complexities, and establish a sultry and enticingly cool new voice in American fiction.
Prizewinning Quatro’s highly anticipated and deeply intriguing first book, a subtly metamorphosing short story collection, shimmers with touches of Flannery O’Connor and George Saunders. Her bifurcated setting, Lookout Mountain on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, gives rise to inquiries into the opacity and intimacy of marriage, social hypocrisy, and the divide between what is verifiably real and what we imagine. Jocelyn, a recurring character, is struggling with the consequences of virtual adultery. Do romantic e-mails and phone sex constitute an actual affair? In one spooky story, her lover’s corpse occupies her marriage bed. Quatro examines complex questions of heritage and tyranny in a stealthily devastating tale about a marathon traversing a Civil War battlefield in which runners must carry statues, many of them erotic. In another haunting tale, 89-year-old Eva, whose son was killed in Vietnam, walks along a highway to mail a letter protesting the Iraq War to President George W. Bush. Cancer, addictions, the curious dismantling of a church, and the birth of a cult also fuel compelling moral dilemmas that yoke bizarreness with authenticity. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. "[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, butif they're like methey will welcome whatever they can get."J. Robert Lennon, 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.'"James Wood, The New YorkerQuatro’s language is admirably light on its feet. Hers is the consummate prose that doesn’t call attention to itself with verbosity or sparsity. Her descriptions are simple, selective and always hit their mark.” Kelsey Joseph, Los Angeles Review of Books"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."S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle"Subtle, sexy, and reflective . . . Quatro is incisive on technology and our new varities of instant gratification. . . . Quatro's stories [have] 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 . . . and of Lorrie Moore's pulverizing wit. . . . In order to be good at big things, writes must be good at small ones. Quatro's details resonate. . . . There's so much in these stories that's shocking. Yet there's so much solace."Dwight Garner, The New York Times"Haunting and sharp . . . [reminiscent] of the dark-meets-light style of Lydia Davis or Alice Munrobut it leaves room for zingers, too. Quatro is so good . . . the title of this debut collection isn't just a tease."Julie Vadnal, Elle"Delicious reading . . . [An] impressive debutabout the shortcomings of people who wrestle with angels, and usually lose."Amy Gentry, 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."Karen Long, 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 bookand holy fuck, is it. . . . Startling, heartrending, and extraordinarily sexy . . . [with] allegorical scene[s] worthy of Kafka or Donald Barthelme."Baynard Woods, Baltimore City PaperLike George Saunders, she's in tune with the warped patois of 21st-century life, holy, precious, teeming with energy, but clear only in contradiction Her epiphanies come with a holy sense of wonder, giving these superb 14 stories a holistic feel.” The American - In Italia"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."Jennine Capo Crucet, The L Magazine"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?"Lindsay Deutsch, USA Today (3 stars)"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."Nine 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."Donna Seaman, 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"[Quatro's] stories are uncensored, sometimes eccentric explorations of lifeits darkness and brilliance."Oxford American"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 spirituallust, 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."Bryan Lowder, NY1"Yowza . . . This one is going to be big. . . . It's so good, I kind of want to lick it."Rebecca Joines Schinsky, Book Riot, who in a second review commented:"I knew when I read this collection that it was going to be one of my favorite books of the year. I also knew that it was going to be big (I don’t say I want to lick just any old book). . . . Quatro’s short stories are knock-your-socks-off good, and they deserve every bit of praise they’re garnering. I’ve run out of ways to say THIS BOOK IS GOOD GO READ IT, so just do it, okay?""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 an author unafraid to face it. I salute a brilliant new American writer."Tom Franklin"The characters in these absolutely unique stories live at a nearly intolerable level of intensity, stretched on a self-created rack between faith and sexualityand 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 handa miracle in which any reader can believe."David Gates"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"Exquisitely crafted, the characters here are as complex, real, and finely drawn as you'll find. No hyperbole here: Jamie Quatro is an outstanding new talent."Elizabeth Crane"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"Quatro has mastered the art of the double takethat 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 Quatro's stories sentences of astonishing strangeness startle the pond and serve as reminders of the dangerous, unknowable human heart. . . . Here is a new talent with work made to last."Christine Schutt"I keep saying, 'God almighty, that's a great story' after I finish one."George Singleton"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."Patrick Ryan, The Toronto Star
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