A Spy in the House of Love – Anais Nin: Pretty But Unsatisfactory
March 23, 2013 Leave a comment
This book is described as Erotic Fiction. Having read ‘Eros Unbound’ (Nin’s erotica short stories, enjoyed greatly), I began with the expectation of lyricism in the writing too. There was far less sex than I imagined, not enough for me to think of this as erotica at all. Unfortunately, that showed the lack of cohesiveness in the writing too.
Sabina is a radical 1950s woman, so categorized because of her inability to stay faithful to her husband. The book, while written in third person, still sits tightly within her mind. The chaos in her head that makes Sabina behave as she does, spills over into the writing and instead of enriching it, makes the plot confusing and unsatisfactory. Sabina’s many men are different from each other and in being with them, she dons different personas. At some point, she loses sight of herself. This is the core thought that unfortunately, gets lost in the constantly second- and third-guessing games that Sabina plays.
There is poetic beauty in the words, no doubt. It might work in a shorter form of writing such as poetry or a short story. Unfortunately, in a longer story, it doesn’t serve to cover the patches of poor characterisation, plot integrity and lack of focus.
That said, I’m still captivated by Anais Nin’s poetic expression and will try another of her books to see if it fares any better.