We love this time of year because our office becomes full of new and fantastic Canadian reads! Recently, our Festival Director, Nicola, finished reading Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger and absolutely loved it! It was released earlier this month by Coach House Books.
About the book:
“Myra, naive and curious, is on a family vacation to the southernmost tip of Florida. Here, suffering through the embarrassments of a family on the verge of splitting up, she meets Elijah, a charismatic Tanzanian musician who seduces her at the edge of the tourist zone. Myra longs to lose her virginity to Elijah, and is shocked to learn he lives with Gayl, a secretive and violent woman with a strange power over him. Myra and her family return to an unnamed, middle-class, grey Canadian city and she falls in with a pot-smoking, intellectual anarchist crowd. When Gayl and Elijah travel north and infiltrate Myra’s life, she walks willingly into their world: Myra continues to experiment sexually with Elijah, while Gayl plays an integral part in the increasingly abject games. Maidenhead traverses the desperate, wild spaces of a teenage girl’s self-consciousness. How does a girl feel scared? What is she scared of? And how does telling yourself not to be scared really work? As Myra enters worlds unfamiliar of sex, porn, race and class, she explores territories unknown in herself.”
Q & A with Nicola
Q: What drew you to this book?
Who doesn’t love a Coach House book? Plus, I loved the promotional swag that came with the book (thanks Evan!).
Q: Did you enjoy it?
This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Maidenhead is incredibly well-written, insightful and believable. The reader is drawn into the story and the psyche of its characters. Tamara Faith Berger’s writing is honest and fearless.
I particularly enjoyed the way the writer delved into the mindset of her teenage main character during her sexual awakening. It was enthralling and disturbing at the same time. Whilst some of the sexual encounters are very graphic, the writing is not sensational; it maintains credibility.
Q: Would you recommend it?
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy high quality, literary fiction with an edge.