Heather's Reviews > A Spy in the House of Love

A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin
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's review
Jan 19, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: bookclub
Read from January 26, 2012 to April 07, 2013

First of all, a note on style: this book is so unrelenting in the density of its prose, it barely gives you time to breathe: it's like having your head shoved under water for 200 pages, and by the end you begin to share the hallucinations of Sabina, the title character.
This claustrophobia aside, I was disappointed in this book for other reasons. 'Spy' has been celebrated as a kind of taboo-breaking ode to passion and sexual freedom, and I felt I had been sold a bit of a marketing lie. Far from being about passion, it seemed to be more of an exploration of a person's hollowness and her search for identity and meaning through moulding herself to men's needs. There was little passion, but a lot of despair and, ultimately, little resolution or self-discovery. This is a novella about a woman shattered into pieces by a lack of self, and sent looking for herself in sex. Far from heralding an era of sexual revolution, it seems to be a product of its time, simply reinforcing the idea that feminine sexual freedom is the result of pain and a corrupted soul.

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