Elizabeth's Reviews > The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1 by Anaïs Nin
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Mar 18, 07

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bookshelves: france, autobiographical
Recommended for: Literary Types
Read in March, 2007

It took me about six months to wade through this book; I finally finished the last 20 painstaking pages this week.

I had to digest the book in small chunks, which was a surprise since I enjoyed reading her "Early Diaries." In her previous books she was youthful, hopeful and full of experimentation. This time I felt that her personality was more fixed and that her appetite for new experiences seemed cold and calculating.

Nin relentlessly persues the new and different. The entries were so visceral they kind of chewed you up. She writes with a dainty touch and then a description will become almost gnarly (can't really think of another word here).

Then there was a big section where she visits various psychologists and tries to fix her problems (and seduce her therapists). It was disturbing, I began to think that she was kind of sick in the head; And there were long stretches of psycho-babble that bored me.

I think she was most successful in her diary when she sketches her reconciliation with her father, who left the family when she was a child. It was interesting to me to watch her begin the re-kindled relationship by looking for what was similar between them, like a form of self love. Later, as she grew the ability to examine him dispassionately, she asked him to be honest with her about his past and he clung to his lies. That part was really sad and beautiful.

I'm curious now to revisit Henry Miller after reading her descriptions of him.
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message 1: by Jiamei (new) - added it

Jiamei Yue “There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934


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