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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
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Now, writer Tristine Rainer, confidant to Nin since meeting when Rainer was just 18, has finally revealed the true story behind Nin’s mythical status. In her recent book, Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin, Rainer has created a new literary genre: the novoir, “a memoir with true characters and actual dialogue, but with the structure and stylistic elements of a novel.”
To read Venus is to become immersed in a past so recent yet so charged with the remnants of feminine repression, that those who lived through the last decades will nod in identification, while the current generation of younger feminists will be deeply informed.
Rainer propels the reader along the suspenseful unraveling of the Nin myth to ultimately conclude “that Anaïs, a deeply flawed person — a narcissist, a bigamist, a liar, and a deviant — was [also] so lovable. The wonder was that from such a defective source shone so much light.”
That brilliance shines not only from this spellbinding telling, but burns brightly from Rainer herself. While revealing the complex truth behind the Nin’s many masks, she lays bare her own coming of age as a woman and writer — the apprentice who has surpassed her mentor as a role model for a new generation.
I finished this book with a sorrow for Nin's contortions and anger at the way she manipulated Rainer, but it is clear that in the writing of this book, the author has transcended the tumultuous emotions engendered by this relationship -- a testimony to the healing power of telling one's story.
A vivid, colorful supporting cast of characters, including Henry Miller, Renate Druks, James Herlihy and Christopher Isherwood, are deftly drawn as Rainer pitches in to help Nin become an early feminist icon. The themes and topics discussed in this book are thought-provokingly profound, truth and illusion, love and lust, deception and allegiance, trust and forgiveness. Rainer’s account of Nin’s final months is emotionally moving and I felt uplifted by Rainer’s own spiritual rebirth after her mentor’s death. I could not recommend this book more highly, a fascinating, engaging read, both historical and deeply personal. Mega Five Stars