This is addictive reading about addictive love – a woman addicted to a romantic life of love, lust, passion, adventure, lies and truths – and writing beautifully and honestly about all of it.
Independent, self-aware, brash, vulnerable, daring, defiant, loving, honest, dishonest, misunderstood, frightened, fascinating … all threads woven into the fabric of Anais Nin’s “trapeze life,” a woman’s life caught in the cultural trappings – traps – of her society and her own deep insecurities. As a brilliant and gifted writer her lucid prose puts into words emotions we all know and feel but cannot express.
Her story is not dissimilar to many women’s relationships, except Anais is bold enough to reveal her naked truth in writing, in a series of unexpurgated diaries chronicling her mystifying, often perilous, always unconventional life in the fast-lane of early feminism and taboo sexuality, including bigamy and many love affairs – fifty years before what she did was even close to “acceptable.”
Trapeze, one of a series, covers the years from 1947 to 1955 and picks up from the previous volume, Mirages. In this period of her life, Anais lived in New York and California, was married to two men at the same time, loved both, and hid her split-life from them. Her stories of countless affairs, real and raw, give all women an honest lens into what love is and isn’t, and why a woman can find love in different places with different men. The title Trapeze is, for her, symbolic of ‘swinging back and forth’ between two lifestyles, one on each coast.
“The deception was so elaborate that Nin maintained a series of files she called her ‘lie box,’ in which she kept track of the stories invented for both husbands.” – New York Post
The men are different and her emotional-self when with them is different and the diaries are her medium of musing and anguish. She recounts the men’s shortcomings and the highs and lows of her emotional entrapment with each. One a husband for over two decades (Hugo Guiler), the other a new and younger lover (Rupert Pole), led her to turn ambivalence, and what for most women is a binary decision, into not settling for ‘either or’ and choosing both. Of course, it wasn’t the first time Nin had an affair – she had many, including a torrid relationship with Henry Miller, author of Tropic of Cancer.
Guiler gave her financial stability at a time when she hadn’t made it as a writer and Pole, a handsome lover full of passion for life, allowed her to live as an erotically sexy woman who later became a famous erotic sex writer.
After eight years of maintaining both relationships she married Pole while staying in her marriage to Guiler and covered up the truth from both until the mid-1970s.
“Great lovers never trust each other.”
Her diaries expose the layers and layers of a woman’s relationships with men, the ecstasy of lust, the depth of love, the pain of ‘personal baggage” – hers and the men’s. She struggles with the aching tension of hurting each other, the triggering of insecurities, the fear of rejection and shares it all, including letters from different lovers that open up their vulnerabilities and psychological traumas.
“What makes me feel the right to love him is that he was hurt by his first love and by his second. The first was physically good but emotionally and intellectually bad for him (she was stupid and boring—just a beautiful girl, that’s all) and the second, hard and selfish. I knew I could love him better.”
Apparently, both men turned a blind eye to her deception because they were willing to accept that ‘half of Anais was better than all of any other woman.’ But you will have to read the diaries to unravel the love and intrigue of a truly unique woman.
“I feel loved I feel united with the world I feel free.” – Anais Nin
Buy Trapeze at the Love & Sexcess Bookstore (30% off).
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