In a book published in association with Sky Blue Press, the celebrated diarist, novelist and electric personality reappears with all the fire of her eroticism in pages untouched by a Bowdler or a Puritan.
Or an editor, it seems: There are no notes, timelines or other aids for readers embarking for the first time on Nin’s ocean. Even the photographs bear only the names of the subjects and a location (“John Dudley at Hampton Manor,” for example). These annoyances aside, readers will find Nin a most entertaining companion—her multiple simultaneous relationships with men, her gleefully graphic descriptions of sex acts. The author does not include much in these diaries about public events (Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima and V-E Day merit brief mentions); mostly, she is interested in her interior world—and in the choreography of sexual relationships, in and out of bed. Her lovers were, in some cases, celebrities—among them Henry Miller, critic Edmund Wilson (whose pudgy body she compares unfavorably with those of her younger beaus) and actor Rupert Pole. Nin yearned for the unknown, as well, including random young men she met on college campuses during her readings. Among the most interesting passages involve her relationship with young Gore Vidal, whom she found incredibly attractive and bright (she cooled when she saw how he portrayed her in his novel The City and the Pillar). Though he reciprocated, nothing much physical could occur between them due to his homosexuality, which he initially lied to her about. (She was not fooled.) Nin also examines her many sessions with her therapists, her dreams, publishing projects, frustrations with critics, fears and fantasies, regrets and resolutions. “I live drunk with desire,” she writes.
In one late entry, Nin complains, mildly: “My world is so large I get lost in it”; readers will do the same—and gratefully so.