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UPC: 9781552452592
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Author: Tamara Faith Berger
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Coach House Books; 1st Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155245259X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552452592
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches

Winner of the The Believer Book Award (2012)
Shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award (2013)

On a mangy beach in Key West, sixteen-year-old Myra meets Elijah, a Tanzanian musician twice her age. Trapped on a Spring Break family vacation, Myra longs to lose her virginity to Elijah, and is shocked to learn he lives with Gayl, a secretive, violent woman with a strange power over him.

When Myra and her splitting-up family return home, she falls in with a pot-smoking anarchist crowd. But when Gayl and Elijah follow her north, she walks willingly into their world, engaging in more and more abject sexual games.

As Myra enters unfamiliar worlds of sex, porn, race and class, she explores territories unknown in herself. Maidenhead traverses the desperate, wild spaces of a teenage girl’s self-consciousness.


'Maidenhead is a mesmerizing and important novel, lying somewhere between the wilds of Judy Blume, Girls Gone Wild and Michel Foucault. It’s a thrilling, enlightening and really hot place to be.'
― Sheila Heti, National Post

'Tamara Faith Berger has been writing challenging and sexy books for more than a decade, but this novel is her best yet. She handles race and class as deftly as she does the effects of internet pornography on our sex lives and our moral lives ― subjects that might be turned into excuses for sermons, but which she renders in original and shocking ways.'
― The Believer

'Maidenhead is a masterpiece: a richly layered, complexly rendered, rhythmically written, and brilliantly executed meditation on power, desire, and consciousness.'
― Quill and Quire

'For those of us who secretly read V.C. Andrews and The Story of O under the covers with flashlights in early adolescence, Tamara Faith Berger is our grown-up literary saint. Her prose has consistently traversed extreme, forbidden territory, infusing filth with intelligence and sophistication unseen in much of Canadian literature.'
― National Post

'Maidenhead is by turns creepy and seductive and unlike anything you’ll read this spring.'
― Fashion magazine

'A dazzling and engaging writer . . . no other writer I can think of working now has dealt with female sexuality as accurately. The book is charming and incendiary.'
― Chris Kraus

'Maidenhead is a corrective to Houellebecq’s tales of sex starved, middle-aged masculinity, allowing us to see, finally, from the perspective of the budding slut herself ... [A] fast, engrossing, disquietingly erotic read.'
― Maisonneuve

'Everyone interested in literary erotica will agree that [Berger] makes a unique contribution to the genre.'
― NOW magazine

About the Author

Tamara Faith Berger was born in Toronto. She wrote porn stories for a living and attempted to make dirty films before publishing her first book, Lie with Me, in 1999. In 2001, The Way of the Whore (A Woman Alone at Night in the U.S.), her second book, was published. In 2004, Lie with Me was made into a film. Maidenhead is her third book.