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Seduction: A Portrait of Anais Nin Hardcover – May, 2002
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From Library Journal
Duxler was a 20-year-old literature student in 1968 when she serendipitously met 65-year-old feminist icon Anas Nin. Having read the writer's published diaries, she was simultaneously starstruck and eager to assume the role of acolyte. The relationship lasted until Nin's death in 1977. At that point, Duxler was astonished to read Nin's unedited writing and discover that the feminist was not the independent powerhouse she thought she knew but a needy polygamist who had connived her way into the lives of others. This startling revelation and betrayal led Duxler, by then a psychology student, to begin a psychoanalytic inquiry into Nin's life. Here, Duxler scrupulously scrutinizes the writer's compulsive sexuality including a period of consensual father-daughter incest when Nin was an adult and her lifelong need for subterfuge. While many of the revelations are astonishing, the narrative is often sketchy and will leave readers wanting to know more about Duxler's relationship with Nin as well as Nin's relationships with the men she juggled. Perhaps interviews with people who knew the elusive author would have made Seduction feel more complete. As it is, the book is tempting, but like foreplay that goes nowhere, it is ultimately frustrating. Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, New York City
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Unlike Deidre Bair's biography which seemed to distill Nin's life down to an ugly set of facts, SEDUCTION is mainly an analysis, one by an obviously competant psychologist, rather than a catalogue. Also unlike Bair, Duxler actually knew Nin and could call her a friend. Like many of us, Duxler was disillusioned when she discovered that her dear friend and mentor had seemingly deceived her by misrepresenting the facts of her life and feelings. But unlike the character assassins, Duxler was inspired to use her formidable skills to analyze Nin's motivations, particularly through an examination of her childhood diary (LINOTTE). The results are impressive; Duxler wades through the complex facts of a life, the subtle clues, the unsubtle behaviors, and helps the reader come to a more thorough understanding.