Fiction – paperback; Penguin Classics; 112 pages; 2007.
Anais Nin (1903-1977) is mainly known as a diarist, publishing a series of personal journals spanning 60 years of her life. But she is also one of the world’s most famous and finest writers of female erotica.
No surprise then that this book, part of the Penguin Great Loves series, depicts a ripe orange that resembles a woman’s breast on the cover. It almost looks too naughty to read…
In fact, it could be argued that this is a very naughty book indeed. Featuring eight sexually-charged short stories, this wafer-thin collection makes for a wonderful introduction to the French-Cuban’s work.
According to the blurb, Eros Unbound explores “the nature of sex and the awakening of desire” which is a fitting description for a series of stories that includes everything from an erotic encounter on the beach between two strangers to a naive model slowly discovering her sexuality (on a pommel horse, of all things).
I have to admit that many of the stories contained here were already familiar to me, having read a similar collection (now out of print) in the early 1990s, but re-reading them was like discovering something wicked, but beautiful, all over again. My only quibble is that Nin concentrates less on the story arc and plot development than she does on her sentence construction, so while the writing is sensual and languid the abrupt endings leave you feeling like you’ve been cut short — or, to use a terrible sexual pun, as if you’ve climaxed too early.
Anais Nin is obviously not for everyone. The stories are sensual without being overly raunchy, but there’s still frequent references to genitalia and sexual acts that might disturb some readers.