Skip to main content

Book Review: A Spy in the House of Love


Anais Nin is perhaps the reigning empress in erotica, known for two posthumously published erotica short story collections, Delta of Venus and Little Birds.

As a literary figure she appears veiled in mystery and sensual secrecy even though she wrote about affairs, incest, and the poetry of sexuality. Perhaps we just like to confuse complicated for mysterious. Nin was an established author in her lifetime.

Though I own both her erotica collections, I chose to read her novel “A Spy in the House of Love” first. This book was published when she was alive in 1954. And though not explicitly defined as erotica, the work is brimming with sensual lyricism, lustful texture, and a simultaneously humorous and sharp wit.

I suppose some readers may approach Nin’s work as they would approach Nabokov’s “Lolita” – in search of shocking, depraved sexuality in print form. But this book does not portray the physical act of the affair, rather explores the reverberating affects of body, mind, and soul. The book is thoroughly poetic, I felt as though I were at times reading stanzas rather than prose.

I marked several lines in the novel that rang true for me, though I question whether or not they meant to me what Nin intended them to mean. This book was very much like music for me as a reader: I took the lines I could apply to my truth even if that truth was somewhat disassociated with the plot of the story.

I personally didn’t relate to the guilt and the fragmentation of identity that are themes in the book. I did, however, love the metaphor of her as a spy, especially in correlation to how society would react to her main character as a woman doing the things she does throughout the story.

I was reminded of reading Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening,” for some reason, probably because both novels are intricate character sketches of the main character, with some common themes. I enjoyed Nin’s work, more, however, and, as the opening scene illustrates, Sabina reminded me of a flame – dangerous but about to burn out.

Like the character herself, there were parts of this book I drank like water and some that were quite tedious to get through. Still, I enjoyed the book overall. It was quite philosophical. Readers preferring a quick plot and action that takes place outside of the character rather than inward speculation might have problems getting through. The book is short, only 123 pages, and I found a great introduction to Anais Nin. I plan to read more of her work, because she writes with an excellent grasp of the workings of her characters, which tremendously reflects real life.

For more information and discussion about this enigmatic author, visit The Anais Nin Blog


 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Excerpts from "Cast From the Earth" a polyamorous romance

I had so much fun sharing inspiration photos and excerpts from my novel Booked that I wanted to do one for Cast From the Earth, my polyamorous romance with zombies set in the 1890's. This book features a F/F and M/M/F pairing and lots of fighting... for love ;) Check out some snippets below!

*

Dust billowed up as the wagon ambled down a worn dirt road reserved for indigents and invalids. Curled in the back of the wagon clutching her satchel, Cordelia was certain she was neither. She had been offering a perfectly legitimate trade on that street corner back in town. Yet someone still turned her in for begging in public.

Cordelia found herself with no means to pay for a room at the boardinghouse and not a single establishment in White Spring would let her wash dishes or sweep floors for even one day.

Without any further discussion, Cordelia was shoved into the back of a wagon to be hauled off to the Clay County poor farm.

There had been a brief exchange in which the man entrusted with…

Ways Porn Has Helped My Life

Earlier this week @KelseyObsession on Twittier (SexuallyAwkward.com) posted a poll asking if porn has helped people’s lives, hurt people’s lives, or been a neutral force. I answered that porn has helped my life... because it has!
I see the sentence “porn ruined my life” so often but I can honestly say that in many ways porn saved my life. (It’s a bit too click baity even for me to use as a headline, but it doesn’t make it any less true). On top of that, there has been another anti-porn wave on social media lately, so I thought I would go ahead and dedicate a post to the ways porn has helped my life.
First things first. When I write about porn, I usually get a lot of the same questions so I’ll just preface by answering those questions now: 1. No, I don’t work in the adult industry. Aside from one erotica story I wrote being published in an alternative porn magazine and a few erotic photoshoots that have never been published except as cropped header images for my blog posts, I’ve never be…

Happy Masturbation Month 2018!

It's MASTURBATION MONTH, lovely readers. I'm so very excited because masturbation is one of my most cherished sexual outlets. Unfortunately, I didn't always have such a good relationship with masturbation. I saw it as something shameful, as something "less" than other sexual outlets, and the subjects of my sexual fantasies often left me confused or once again, ashamed.

Examining sexual fantasy, learning about my body, and understanding more about how erotic media is produced were all processes I had to work through to have a better sex life and to enjoy all my sexual outlets. Which is why I still work to promote great non-fiction sexuality books and sex-ed resources as much as I can.

But for today, I want to offer some further reading for masturbation specifically.

As a person who can think myself off, I rely on sexual fantasy and erotic media like erotica and porn to masturbate and own relatively few sex toys. But that's all right! Part of my message about …