Books: Apprenticed to Venus
Apprenticed to Venus:
My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin
By Tristine Rainer
NAMED A “BEST SUMMER READ” BY ELLE MAGAZINE AND SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
In 1966, Anaïs Nin, author of the erotic bestseller Delta of Venus and Parisian lover to Henry Miller, published her intimate diaries and became a feminist icon of the sexual revolution, proclaiming:
“A woman has as much right to pleasure as a man!”
In reality, Nin was far from free, entrapped in a life of deception, married simultaneously to two husbands between whom she could not choose.
Tristine Rainer met Nin before her rise to fame. As an 18-year-old virgin from the San Fernando Valley, Rainer was sent on an errand to Anaïs’ Greenwich Village apartment and became entranced by the older woman’s world of sensuality and sophistication. She begged Anaïs’ guidance in becoming a woman, eventually following in her mentor’s footsteps of adventurous passion.
As Tristine is manipulated into running interference and spying to protect the secret of Anaïs’ bigamy, the danger and excitement of Anaïs’s life brings Tristine herself perilously close to the edge. A moving look at the intimacy—and risks—of the female mentor-protégé relationship, Apprenticed to Venus stories a deep friendship, for good or ill, with a pivotal historical figure.