Book Review + Discussion: Delta of Venus by Anais Nin


Hey babes! I hope you are all having a warm night. Spring is still very far away from us (where I live anyway). It's been a hot minute since we've seen a book review posted, huh? Here's one now. 

This review is gonna be really cut and dry: Mari reads high-brow erotica and she was sorely disappointed lol. Not in the way you would think, though. Sigh, let's get into this.

Now Nin did preface this by saying that this collection of short stories was made exclusively for a very wealthy gentleman who wanted to look like an intellectual in his library, looking important and very busy, but someone who really wanted to pore over lurid texts religiously. Props to that dude. I would honestly do the same thing. I really love Nin's introduction. I don't think anyone should ever miss it. If you don't wanna read the book, I high really recommend her commentary on sex and emotional connection, and how separating the two can make for a really boring read. It's more of an essay, I guess. But I think it's also one of her highly quoted texts, so maybe even if you didn't think you've read it, maybe you have already. 

So the patron had a lot of influence in terms of how Nin could write the book. She couldn't have complete control over her art or her skills as a writer, because it was pretty much hampered by the request of the person paying her commission to omit build-ups, chemistry, or any sensual details that would help you savor the tantalizing text. Nin admitted that she was frustrated most of the time and was running out of ideas as well (she would ask friends for their personal sexual anecdotes just so she can pad her writing and continue to pay the bills because the anonymous patron would demand new sacrilegious stories different from the other previous stories; every story had to be dressed up differently and distinguished from the rest) because not only does the length of the story have to be quite long, it also has to be substantive. And there's only so much you can do when the patron demands for the writing to be succinct and jump straight to the "performance paragraph" lol. With that kind of pressure, on top of working with limited creativity, I can really understand why Nin didn't consider this one of her finest works. Sure, in some instances, the fast approach was fun, because it sort of lends this fairy-tale tone (where you just accept things as it is when it's very dry in telling you the story), but that kind of trite tone can only be enchanting for so long. 

I used Open Library to be able to examine this book for you guys. Yes, examine, is the right word. *pushes back monocle* And the screenshots you're seeing are from my iPad. And this is how I was able to borrow the book. I think I had a month or two months before the due date. I can't remember at the moment. But they were really generous with their lending time and I didn't have any issues returning the book. It just gets returned automatically. 

I think Nin writes exceptionally well. But if I'm going to pick a book that has some sort of sensuality in it, I would prefer to read Angela Carter's books. It's not really a comparison between the two, it's just more of a preference. And I just connect with Carter's books more than I did with Nin. I'm sorry for any Nin fans out there. I've read excerpts of Nin's diaries and her imagery is really pretty and evocative, but I don't know why I'm more enchanted with Carter's prose. 

Anyway, back to the book. I remember I had a huge reading slump before picking up Delta of Venus and I thought erotica was easy (literally) and I could just get back on the reading horse no problem. Well, erotica clapped back (she's not easy), because it took me about four months to finish this book. And that's not even me dedicating a daily read to it. I would just put it down frequently. And I'll tell you the reason why.

I didn't know this, but reading erotica feels like being a sports referee/anchor (Can't think of the word at the moment. You have to fucking describe every motion, movement, and every hurried detail, and I literally got lost in the tangle of limbs. Like, I feel like I couldn't put the book down to go and do something else, because if I stop mid-paragraph, I'll have to reread the whole thing again to understand where I'm at. Even with laser focus, I feel like, I'd still get lost at times. Like I'll be sitting here thinking "That sexual position is not possible, at all" because I would end up overthinking it or I'm already out of steam in trying to follow everything. I remember thinking, "if I call up an ex right now, and described to them this pillow book manual, they'd agree with me, that you'd have to be an alien to have that kind of intercourse (or outercourse, whatever you prefer)." 

So yeah, I got really vexed in not being able to get through the book as fast as I would hope. And no one uses my two brain cells without my consent! Nin, how could you? 

If it had worked out between erotica and me, I would be asking you guys for more erotica recommendations. But sadly, we're just not meant to be. I think this is the last time I'm picking up erotica, to be completely honest, lol. Even with contemporary and modern erotica, I did have that same struggle. I would just get really annoyed in not being able to fly through the book. Although, it serves me right for looking down on the book, thinking I could devour it within hours. 

I did have a favorite line from this book and I'm sorry if it's not accurate. I have the screenshot somewhere on my private Twitter but it won't let me go back more than 6 months and even with the archive requested, I keep getting files I can't open smh. Anyway, it goes like this: My lover is like a cat. Although he sleeps naked, he would not walk about naked. 

Anyway, how do you read erotica? Maybe, I'm reading it wrong. And maybe I should be patient and take my time. We can chat in the comment section below. Maybe, you can convince me to not give up on erotica. Love you guys. Take care xx 


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