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Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A Revealing Look at the Mentorship—and Manipulation—of Anaïs Nin

In 1962, eighteen-year-old Tristine Rainer was sent on an errand to Anaïs Nin’s West Village apartment. The chance meeting would change the course of her life and begin her years as Anaïs’s accomplice, keeping her mentor’s confidences—including that of her bigamy—even after Anaïs Nin’s death and the passing of
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Arcade
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are fateful decisions which mark one for life. Young Tristine Rainer’s decision to make charismatic, enigmatic Anais Nin her mentor unfolds into a tale suspenseful as a thriller. Artfully crafted memoir of a high-wire act, the advantages and perils of a vulnerable young person’s intimacy with a glamorous, seductive, brilliant and dangerous mentor. Revelations, especially toward the end of the book, changed my understanding of the Nin story.

The apprentice mentor relationship has elements o
Lolly K Dandeneau
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog
“I knew how she was, adamant about others keeping her secrets, but careless in exposing the intimacies of others.”

That quote stayed with me the most after having read Apprenticed To Venus. Anaïs was obviously the sort of person that fished confessions, revelations, and intimacies out of people with ease. Most people are hungry for a confidant, people love to give away their juiciest parts, so long as they have an audience they think they can trus
M. Sarki
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

…In fact, for me, having come of age in the 1950’s, a man taking you while you were helpless was a secret fantasy. One where I could have pleasure without guilt, as when I imagined myself being bound to a factory conveyor belt and carried on it to a man like nougat centers to the chocolate dip—moving toward desire free of volition.

Tristine Rainer, an academic professor in her later years, now confesses her rapturous secret life at once riveting and hinged
Crystal King
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I count myself extraordinarily lucky to receive an ARC of this thought-provoking memoir. Anais Nin was one of my earliest influences as a writer and as a young woman. I read everything by her that I could in my early adulthood, and of course, I read her famous diaries. I thought I knew something of Anais, that I had gleaned some sort of special understanding of her through her writing, and all of that was turned upside down reading Tristine Rainer's account of her time knowing her firsthand.

A q
Arja Salafranca
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For those of us who came to legendry diarist Anaïs Nin’s original published journals, which she edited herself for publication in the 1960s, she appeared to be a free and independent woman. There was a brief mention of a husband in the 1930s, but nothing more. She seemed a woman who lived by her writing, printing some of her own volumes, first living in Paris, then New York, before escaping to a life in the sun of California’s hills.

In the mid-1980s and 1990s the truth began to emerge – and rea
C.R. Elliott
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, memoirs
Beautiful book. Although Anais is probably a bit out of fashion in the here and now, her life and her approach to living wind through so much of the discussions of feminism, sexuality, gender, love, consent and so much more. I am so grateful that Tristine wrote this book. For 7 or 8 years I've been reading Anais' diaries expurgated and non. I understand that as diaries they are often a slogfest, difficult to wade through because there's a narcissism that can be difficult to look past because it ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
When Tristine Rainer was just 18 in 1962 she met Anais Nin for the first time and from that moment her life was inextricably linked with the writer who cast an immediate spell over her. In her thrall from that moment she remained at her beck and call and was a constant support. This memoir of her time with and, on occasion, without Nin is interesting on many levels. It’s a literary biography, a literary and cultural history, and an intimate musing on a key relationship in Rainer’s life. I very m ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love Anais Nin, the author was an "apprentice" to Anais in the late '60s. She unmasks Anais as a bigamist and narcissist. I guess when you're that close to an artist you see all their foibles. I'll take my artists from afar.
None of your business
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is SO interesting!!! Very fluid, very easy to follow the history. I love the timelines and locations at the start of each chapter. I can see the characters clearly. Her descriptions and stories of them are all fantastic. I could see this book being a wonderful movie. I don't want it to end.
Many times I cringe at some of the things Anais tells Tristine and Renate. I felt a desire to want to shake them and wake them up! Afraid that they will be swept deeper into Anais web of lies. Howev
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
While the writing style was surprisingly disjointed and artificial-feeling for someone who specializes in diaries, the salacious and fascinating details of Anais Nin and her post-Paris set were enough to keep me going through to the end. I kind of wish Rainer had left things in a present-tense diary format rather than trying to make it a "novoir." Dealing with the naivete of her 19-year-old (and up) self trying to figure out what was going on was more annoying than endearing, but her heartfelt a ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Apprenticed to Venus by Tristine Rainer is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late June.

Rainer writes this book as a 'novoir,' a novelized memoir based in their relationship and Nin's journals, but with dramatized events and dialogues. It begins in Greenwich Village during 1962 when Nin is 60 and Rainer is referred to her by her godmother, Lenore Tawney. Nin becomes invested in her personal growth and her family's interactions and Rainer, well, devotes herself to Nin's journals, travelling in
Michael Stewart
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I can’t understand who this book is for. Nin’s bigamy is treated as a mystery/big reveal. I understand that it was for the author, but it’s frustrating to spend 100+ pages with the author *not getting it*, when anyone who cares about Anaïs Nin already knows she had two husbands. The author seems to think the reader is also mystified as to why Nin tells weird lies and travels a lot... but it’s like Nin 101: diaries; Henry Miller; lots of lovers, including two husbands, one of whom was the stepson ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An Amazing memoir/biography of the fascinating writer and feminist Anais Nin and the chance encounter the author had with her that changed the course of her life. Rainer had the supreme privilege of being in Nin's confidence for much of her life. Anais Nin has always been a woman of contradictions and more modern for the time she lived. Reading Rainer's secret life with Nin, I felt like I myself has a prime seat in the window of her inner circle. This is a wholly original work on two extraordina ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read. The author captured the mystique that has always surrounded Anaïs Nin spectacularly. Ms. Rainer's writing style made the story flow and even though the book flips back and forth through different time periods, the reader never loses the thread. If you want to find out about Ms. Nin's real personality and the motivations for her behavior, this is the book to read. It depicts her in a very human and reverential light.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh I wanted to love this book... but I really struggled through it. Learning more about Anais is what kept me going, until it started to feel like a tell all. I was also distracted by the author’s need to constantly prove the importance of her relationship with Anais. Oh I wanted to love this book.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This memoir shows a side of Anais Nin unfamiliar to the public. She uses every means at her disposal to manipulate the author into doing her dirty work. All at once an unforgettable memoir as well as pseudo-biography, this book does not disappoint.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A must read for any Anais Nin scholar and/or fan. I discovered Nin only 6 years ago, but have been entranced ever since. Just as I discovered her diaries and writings at that time in my life, this book found me at just the right time. Brava Tristine! Thank you for sharing this part of your story.
Lisa Mcbroom
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I felt uncomfortable reading this. Rainer seemed more of a hanger on vampire than an actual apprentice to Nin. Nin trusted her with secrets and Rainer divulged them. Rainire comes across as very unlikeable.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Via my blog:

I did struggle with this book as it made me question so much in friendship. My thought are well outlined in my blog.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book
Found it very childish and self-centered and gave up on it.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting biography of a flawed woman who was ahead of her time.
Raquel Kay-Doubleyou
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A love story of the most tenderest kind.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had completely forgotten much of what I knew about Anais Nin, other than that she lived in Silver Lake behind where 365 is now in a house designed by Eric Lloyd Wright. This is a fascinating revisionist memoir about her mysterious life even though ultimately she was a serial fabulist and total narcissist.
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Mar 17, 2019
rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2019
Eileen Davis
rated it did not like it
Mar 22, 2017
Kathy Kiernan
rated it it was amazing
Jul 11, 2018
Deirdre Rainer
rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2017
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Tristine Rainer, Ph.D, is a pioneer in the fields of contemporary journal writing and narrative autobiography. Her book The New Diary, how to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity has sold over 200,000 copies and has been used as a text in university Psychology and Occupational Therapy courses, although her degree was in English Lit. After a quarter of a century in print The New ...more