- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Arcade Publishing (July 11, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1628727780
- ISBN-13: 978-1628727784
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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Named a "Best Summer Read" by Elle Magazine!
Praise for Tristine Rainer's Apprenticed to Venus:
“[A] spicy and saucy hybrid of memoir and novel . . . Feminists and fans of Nin's work will enjoy this unique insider's portrait of a complex, pivotal figure in women's liberation.” —Kirkus
“Rainer blends memoir and imagination in this engaging examination of her relationship with author Anaïs Nin . . . a fascinating personal journey.” —Publisher's Weekly
"Mysterious, glamorous, intellectual . . . with vivid language and lush scenes, this memoir makes for an exciting read." —Bust Magazine
“There are fateful decisions which mark one for life. Young Tristine Rainer’s first encounter with charismatic, enigmatic Anaïs Nin unfolds into a decades-long apprenticeship suspenseful as a thriller. The advantages and perils of a mentor/apprentice relationship with such a seductive, brilliant and dangerous mentor is absolutely spellbinding. Revelations, especially toward the end of the book, changed my understanding of the Nin story” —Janet Fitch, New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander
“This stunning, achingly honest memoir confirms that the erotic is neither obscene nor ordinary, and that the heart’s desire is both dangerous and innocent.” —Mark Sundeen, author of The Unsettlers
“This is one of those delicious memoirs one can’t stop reading . . . Tristine Rainer takes us into the hot pulsing heart of Nin’s world . . . an alluring as well as compulsively readable story.” —Jay Parini, author of Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal
“The action-packed adventures of the larger-than-life Anaïs Nin and her young friend Tristine are vivid and glorious, but what broke my heart wide open were the haunting meditations on passion and devotion and the secrets that bond and bind us. A brave and beautiful work.” —Kathleen Adams, author of Journal to the Self
“Stunning, intoxicating, original. Apprenticed to Venus is nothing short of phenomenal, and we owe Tristine as much for her craftsmanship as we do Anaïs for flipping infidelity on its chauvinist head!” —Chip Jacobs, author of Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler
“A fascinating introduction to an extraordinary woman who raised lying to an art form, but whose essential honesty transcends the falsehoods. A book that will challenge and enthrall.” —Joanna Hodgkin, author of Amateurs in Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell
“An unforgettable, intimate narrative that brilliantly captures one of the most fascinating personalities of the twentieth century.” —Crystal King, author of Feast of Sorrow
Praise for Tristine Rainer's The New Diary:
"A perceptive and revolutionary work." - Anaïs Nin on The New Diary
"Extensively researched, useful...all you've wanted to know." - Los Angeles Times on The New Diary
"Perceptive and readable from start to finish." - Publisher's Weekly on The New Diary
"A book both practical and inspiring. Rainer knows how to shape autobiography into art, and she shares this knowledge with clarity, enthusiasm, and a knack for choosing writers' words that best illustrate her point." — Bernard Cooper, personal essayist and memoirist, author of Maps to Anywhere on Rainer's Your Life As a Story
About the Author
Tristine Rainer is a recognized expert on diary and memoir writing and the author of two renowned classics on autobiographic writing continuously in print: The New Diary (with a preface by Anaïs Nin) and Your Life as Story. In addition to co-founding the UCLA Women’s Studies program and later writing and producing award-winning movies for television, Rainer taught memoir and creative nonfiction for eleven years in the USC Masters of Professional Writing Program, and is director of the nonprofit Center for Autobiographic Studies. She resides in California.
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Top customer reviews
-- Anais Nin, "Trapeze," June 27, 1953, page 197
This book is a real page-turner and tour de force of harrowing intrigue, drama, and frequent rounds of laugh-out-loud humor. Two years ago, Tristine Rainer made a comparison in a talk she gave about Nin's 1950-style manipulativeness when it came to men, a talk that can be found on YouTube, drawing a clever analogy between Lucy Ricardo (played by Lucille Ball) in the Fifties' TV show "I Love Lucy" with bigamist Anais Nin and her devious and dangerous if funny trapeze act between two husbands for almost 30 years. The image of Nin as a Cuban Lucy Ricardo stays with you throughout most of this book.
To be fair, this work is neither strictly fiction nor fact, but a dramatic, mesmerizing melange of the two, and the focus is on Nin's outer life and behavior, although some aspects of Nin's inner life are delved into since those aspects are what tie and draw Tristine Rainer, the "antagonist" in this story, to Nin and her friendship with this grand Parisian diarist.
You don't need to know a lot about Nin in order to enjoy this work because the author provides the relevant background detail clearly and amply to hit the ground running as you travel down through time and space with the author's memories of herself and her observations and memories of Nin. And the more you know of Nin's biography, her diaries and novels, and the myth she created for her readers about her life and loves, the funnier the book is.
This book is respectful of her subject while also frequently being scathingly irreverent, a trapeze act of balance as dangerous or treacherous as Nin's bigamy.
This "novoir" (memoir/novel) appears in print just after the recent publication of Paul Herron's edited version of Nin's latest, unexpurgated diary "Trapeze," and serves as a wonderful companion to the newly published diary. Several scenes from this latest diary of Nin appear uncannily in Tristine Rainer's "novoir," giving the work the feel of someone who could empathically re-imagine Nin's struggles and turmoils.
Nin, according to this book, accused the author of being superficial. I think there is truth to what Nin observed, but like Oscar Wilde, Tristine Rainer's superficiality shows us that the true mystery of life lies on the surface, in the visible world, not the invisible, and she sheds a good deal of intelligent light on her subject as we are bewitched by this lens. Reading this story was better than watching TV episodes of "Bewitched," "Addams Family" and "I Love Lucy" all rolled into one. Its appeal is magnetic, life-enhancing, and unforgettable.
I highly recommend everyone read this book -- for all ages, both genders, and any sexual orientation.
Rainer writes this book as a 'novoir,' a novelized memoir based in their relationship and Nin's journals, but with dramatized events and dialogues. It begins in Greenwich Village during 1962 when Nin is 60 and Rainer is referred to her by her godmother, Lenore Tawney. Nin becomes invested in her personal growth and her family's interactions and Rainer, well, devotes herself to Nin's journals, travelling internationally, and making friends and lovers in and out of Nin's creative circle. Nin undergoes a kind of sexual awakening in her early 40s (1946) with dalliances along with Gore Vidal, then marries Rupert Pole, while assumably getting a divorce from her husband, Hugo Gulier (which she refers to a mariage a trois). Rupert works for state forestry in California when Nin goes in for what seems a routine surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and is given an outright hystorectomy. On all this, Rainer swears secrecy. When Hugo empties their shared bank account, Nin gathers up Rainer with the intent to move away to Paris. Then she doesn't. Instead, Rainer attends grad school at UCLA, creates a commune in Santa Monica, falls the ultra fashionable Philip Forester, and works with Nin to form a women's studies major and to get volumes of her 'Diary' and 'Diary II' published. Nin later dies from complications associated with cancer, married to two men 'til the end.