Saturday, May 26, 2012

Discussion Time: A Spy in the House of Love

So it seems I was right about one thing in my review of Anais Nin's A Spy in the House of Love... As evidenced by the following Facebook conversation with one of my awesome pals, Miss Aby...

And so she did! You can read it here.

But was I impressed? Well, here's what I posted next:

I wrote these reflections as I read through it... So don't expect them to be particularly articulate. (Ha! What am I saying? You read my blog. You know I just write fractured crazy talk!)


Oh wow... I'm not even halfway through the first page and I want to scream at the author - "Motherhood comes to encompass the whole of a woman’s life, leading her to expect that she has no creative possibilities". I know so many women who would debate this statement with their own life experience! Is Hemmati implying that being a mother means a woman can't have sexual and creative freedom? The two don't *have* to be mutually exclusive. (Maybe I'm getting it all wrong already. But ARGH, feminists talking down motherhood as an entirely repressive thing anger me as much as misogynists dissing women for not having children! RAGE!)

I can see what the author's saying about the giving and receiving of energy, and how that's relevant to the novella - Sabina and her lovers (perhaps with the exception of Alan) are almost always depicted as equals, which is cool for a book of its time, but I'd disagree that she's celebrating her sexuality at any point outside the act itself. It felt to me that rather than trying to connect with her lovers, she was using them as a way to disconnect from the world. (Perhaps that's the point of the paper? Maybe that's meant to be a good thing? I don't know.) To me, it felt like more of a denial of reality rather than challenging and changing it.

The spiritual parallels are fascinating, it can't be denied, but the ending of the book made me think that maybe it had all been a false pilgrimage for Sabina - she doesn't come out a better person at the end of it all. If anything, she seems small and broken.

Hmm... I agree with the conclusion, about balancing the different masculine and feminine elements of the self and how Sabina fails to do that. I don't think it's really changed my opinion of the book though. The story still doesn't feel like the adventure I was expecting it to be, rather more of a flustered flailing through human relationships that just damages the people involved. It's not inspired me or made me feel empowered as a woman in any way; if anything, "A Spy in the House of Love" has just demonstrated all the failures that terrify me about human relationships.

So, I guess further reading on my part didn't make me like the book any more, but please, if you find something written about any book I've read as part of this project, flick it through!

And as always, please leave your two (or two thousand!) cents in the comments! Let's talk, me lovelies!

xxoo ND