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Spy In House Of Love: V4 In Nin'S Continuous Novel (Vol IV) Paperback – Unabridged, January 1, 1959

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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About the Author

Anais Nin—the celebrated novelst, diarist, and short story writer—was born in France and spent her childhood in various parts of Europe and in New York. Nin returned to New York just before the outbreak of World War II, and she spent the rest of her life living there and in Paris and Los Angeles. Her work is characterized by a interest in the subconscious. Her five novels in the Cities of the Interior series focus on different female types and follow their lives through lovers, art, and analysis. In 1973 Nin received an honorary doctorate from Philadelphia College of Art. She was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974.
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Product Details

  • Series: Swallow Paperbooks
  • Paperback: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Swallow Press (January 1, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804002800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804002806
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Vivek Tejuja on June 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I just finished one of the most amazing book of the century gone by. I do not know why people always associate Anais Nin and her works to Erotica when there is so much more to it. Yes she did write a whole lotta sensous reading material but then again she was only portraying the truth, wasn't she?
A Spy in the House of Love is all about a woman named Sabina and her life as she flows or rather drifts from one lustful experience to another. She lies, she deceives, she puts on an act only never to find solace in places where she looks for the most - in the arms of strangers but her own husband Alan.
My feelings ranged like tidal waves while devouring this book. I felt like a thief hiding a secret and at the same time felt so connected with my emotions and responses to what my body demanded.
Sabina as a character is so quite that sometimes her silence speaks volumes. The way she moves, the way Ms. Nin breathes life into her is absolutely a piece of art. Rising from the ashes and yet unforgiven. A true to life caricature of what desires can do and their power on our mortal lives.
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Format: Paperback
I actually owned this book for years before getting around to reading it, and then when I finally did I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner. "A Spy in the House of Love" is the story of a young woman named Sabina who, despite having a kind and loving husband, engages in adulterous affairs with men she barely knows. What is it that motivates Sabina? Is it a thirst for adventure? Lust? Resentment towards her husband or the roles society imposes on her? Instead of being a trite morality tale where the "sinner" is punished by facing horrible consequences (like the recent film "Unfaithful") this book explores, without judgement, Sabina's conflicted emotions and motives.
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By A Customer on May 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It takes somebody who has lived all those situations to write such a wonderful story like this one which is full of love & desire.I guess Anais Nin was meant to write it with such vulnerability & passion because she herself,was a spy in the house of love.
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Format: Paperback
Anais Nin delves into the sexual natures of women and men in this brief novel. The enduring feature of this novel is that it is not a social analysis of love but rather a pshycoanalysis. Ms. Nin, as many became aware of from her diaries, was a freely permiscuous woman despite her marriage which lasted most of her life. While Ms. Nin wrote this book in the third person, its main charector is clearly based on herself. She provides insights which are concise, though sometimes drifting into stream of consciousness type naration. She appreciates the complexities of people, which in my view is the only way to remotely be able to provide insights into why one loves. Her "analysis" of the various sexual relationships in the book has elements of Freudian thought though neither blindly nor exclusively such. Though Ms. Nin's charector, a restless "actress", appears to have her soul comforted at the end of the novel, there is no real resolution of any of the philosophical or psychological dillemas of her lifestyle. I would recomend this book to anybody as a "quick down and dirty" source of insight into the nature of love and sex
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Format: Paperback
A review of A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE by Anais Nin

A Spy in the House of Love (1959) is the beautifully poetic expression of a desire that is seldom acknowledged. With the greatest clarity, it expresses a woman's desire-or more precisely, a peculiarly feminine desire-to rid herself absolutely of all feminine desire. Her desire desires nothing more than to imitate the vicissitudes of masculine desire.

The main character, Sabrina, is an actress who slips in and out of erotic relations with men-"the house of love" to which the title refers. Like Madame Bovary, she is unfaithful to her husband. Unlike Madam Bovary, however, she is serially unfaithful and seemingly incapable of devoting herself completely to any one man. Garbed in a cape, Sabrina races through the night from one tryst to the next. She is by no means cold. She is sensitive enough to bleed to death from a paper cut; one slight or insult from a passer-by would cause her to vaporize on the street. Indeed, her emotional attachments are impassioned. Although she reads the men with whom she couples as if they were so many books, memorizing every detail of their person, it is clear that each of these men affects her profoundly. It would be incorrect, therefore, to say that she is, for instance, a man imprisoned in the body of a woman. Because she is a woman whose inner world is infinitely rich and who is capable of infinite passion, she longs-fruitlessly, perhaps-to become impassive; it is precisely because she burns with passion that she yearns to rid herself of all passion.

Masculine desire is transient. Once a man has what he desires, he often loses interest and turns his mind to a new object of lust. Sabrina knows this.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I often find parallels between what I'm reading and what I'm watching and with A Spy in the House of Love I find an affinity between the book and a film, Dark City if that film were told from the point of view of John's "wife" and I also see an affinity with the anime series, Serial Experiements Lain. In all three cases they are stories of women struggling to find themselves among the artifice in which they live, whether it is self created or created by others. To put in terms the book uses, Sabina is like Duchamp's painting of Nude Descending a Staircase; she is a series of frames, a moment of action captured on canvas, but not a single destilled representation of that woman. No one will know what that woman looked like but they will know how she walked down the steps.

Sabina has memories of past loves, past adventures, past meetings but so current feeling of who she is. She is a name. She has a husband who loves her dearly but she is constantly running from him looking for love among her artist friends. There is also clearly a strong note of autobiography in the last third of the book where Sabina meets up with the artist's enclave in New York and that gives this otherwise sensuous tale a note of sadness.
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