A stunning first short-story collection from a talented young writer, The Virgin Spy is an elegant and deceptively guileless exploration of the intricate psychology of young women in their most intimate moments of revelation, desire, and loss. These stories examine the ambivalence of love as they chart the emotional journeys of characters discovering their own contradictions and the contradictions of others.
"What You Said You Wanted" tells the story of Tasha, a thirty-year-old failed actress negotiating her difficult relationship with her overbearing, exercise-obsessed mother who pressures her to lose weight. In "A Matter of Firsts," a teenager accompanies her father to New York, where she experiences her first romantic fascination: a crush on her father's mistress. In "The Virgin Spy," a young woman reflects on her brother's rejection of his family and comes to understand her complicity in his disappearance. In "Something Like Home," a woman awaiting the birth of the baby she plans to adopt has doubts about her marriage and her own readiness for motherhood. These stories have at their centre the unsettling dynamics of family, the tenderness and cruelty of romance and friendship, and the troubling ties by which we are bound to each other.
Like the characters that populate them, these stories are by turns moody and introspective, sad and funny, and all are steeped in the longing that defines our search for that archetypal home.
Douglas & McIntyre, Canada, 2005
Shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award for short fiction
Shortlisted for the 2007 ReLit Award for short fiction
Shortlisted for the 2006 Journey Prize
"The Virgin Spy is entrancing, and Krista Bridge is vastly talented." -The Globe and Mail
"…An engaging debut collection…[with] compelling, intriguing, likable, moody, and introspective heroines…The Virgin Spy contains a lot of ‘capricious sexuality,’ one of Bridge’s many lovely phrases….stories will appeal especially to women, particularly young women who can sympathize with the characters' struggles. But everyone should enjoy Bridge’s fine writing, well-drawn characters, and deft use of humour and pathos." -Quill & Quire
"Bridge’s greatest strength lies in her ability to conjure up a world where despair never quite translates into hopelessness or into any real sense of violation. What makes these stories disturbing is the precision with which Bridge manages to locate them halfway between the poles of desperation which characterize so much of modern life. They exist somewhere between Henry Thoreau’s poetic observation that the great mass of people lead lives of quiet desperation and the banal titillations of the Desperate Housewives. " -Books in Canada
"Lively and dynamic. . . . Capitalizing on the simultaneous distance and intimacy of second-person narration . . . Bridge brilliantly captures the kind of non-consumated crush an adolescent girl can have for an older, wiser woman, while simultaneously initiating her young heroine into the yearnings and hypocrisies of an adult's romantic life." -The Globe and Mail (Praise for "A Matter of Firsts" in The Journey Prize Stories) "Krista Bridge offers words of quiet wisdom with moving stories that poignantly capture states of melancholy and want."
- Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly
"Krista Bridge writes darkly comic stories set in the inner chambers of the heart, stories of seduction and betrayal and innocence that is never quite so innocent as it seems. The way she slices through the cant and codes of conventional romance puts me in mind of a young Alice Munro. And she can write sentences that are like dreams."
- Douglas Glover, author ofElle
Krista Bridge has published fiction in TorontoLife, Descant, Prism International and Prairie Fire. Her short fiction has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, and one of her stories was selected for the Journey Prize Anthology and 05: Best Canadian Stories. Her first book, a collection of stories called the The Virgin Spy (Douglas & McIntyre), was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Relit Award. She holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto and currently lives in Toronto.