BOOK REVIEW: A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin

A Spy in the House of Love (Cities of the Interior #4)A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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The novel’s lead character, Sabina, is an actress who has a series of extra-marital affairs over the short period covered by the novel. Intrigue is generated at the book’s beginning when Sabina contacts a character that we know only as the “lie detector” and petitions him to watch her. The lie detector follows Sabina throughout the course of her sexual dalliances with four men other than her husband, but the reader is only made explicitly aware of his presence during Sabina’s conversations with him, which bookend the events of the novel.

One might presume this novel would be categorized as erotica or romance, but it’s not so graphic as to be typical of the former, nor so much of a celebration of romance to count as the latter. I’d place this work simply as literary fiction. It focuses on the character of Sabina and the conflict that resides within her – on the on hand, she craves the attention of multiple men; but on the other hand, she is in turmoil about this need. The lie detector serves as a confessor, and by having her activities known to someone she hopes to be unburdened. The language is often verges on the poetic.

I enjoyed this novel both for its language and its reflection on the inner conflict of the human condition. I’d recommend this work for readers of literary fiction.

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