The demolition in Jamie Quatro‘s story, “Demolition,” is that of a church.
After Corbett Earnshaw, a deaf eccentric, visits the church one Sunday morning, the stained glass windows start breaking up of their own accord. Through a helpful boy’s sign language, Earnshaw declares to the congregation that he does not believe in Christianity. He has other beliefs. By and by, church members sympathetic to Earnshaw allow a wrecking crew to come and raze the church. What it all symbolizes is the superseding of Christianity in American history by strange, heretical religion. Earnshaw becomes a cult leader.
In light of this, it is no surprise when Quatro makes mention of Victorian Spiritualists in 1885. It is thought-provoking that Earnshaw rejects the concept of sin and has apparently led his cult followers to value “authenticity” (so beloved in the modern world). This, says the narrator, is “Our unnamed longing, revealed.” Of course sex is a big part of the picture. In fact, the cultists regard sex and stillness as sacrosanct, even as their growing children begin to quietly rebel against the cultists’ primitive living.
Quatro is a true artist, the penetratingly written “Demolition” possibly the most artistic fiction about heretical religion ever produced.