A Spy in the House of Love

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A Spy in the House of Love
First edition (1954)
Author Anaïs Nin
CountryUnited States
Genre avant-garde
Publisher Swallow Press (1954)
Penguin (1973)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages136 pp (first edition)
Followed by Seduction of the Minotaur  

A Spy in the House of Love is a 1954 novel by Anaïs Nin. Alongside her other novels, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart and Seduction of the Minotaur, it was gathered into a collection known as Cities of the Interior. The novel follows the character of Sabina, a woman who enjoys the sexual licence typically associated with men. Sabina wears extravagant outfits and deliberately avoids romantic commitments. She pursues sexual pleasure in isolation of any other romantic attachment. [1]


Plot summary

In 1950s New York, protagonist, Sabina, pursues her sexual desires. She calls a random number from a bar in the middle of the night, seeking to confess or find solace in the voice of a stranger. The stranger happens to be a lie detector who proceeds to follow Sabina in her activities throughout the novel. Her various love interests and her relationship with her husband, Alan, without whom she feels she cannot live, make her life more and more complex. The level of deceit her hedonistic lifestyle forces her to maintain leads her to regard herself as "an international spy in the house of love".


In a brief review, John L. Bradley referred to the novel as "Tentative, experimental, complex [...] a commendable effort to explore new frontiers of the modern novel." [2]

Cultural references


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  1. Nin, Anaïs Nin (2001). A Spy in the House of Love. Penguin. ISBN   978-0-14-118371-8.
  2. Bradley, John L. (Summer 1955). "Reviewed Work: A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin". Books Abroad. 29 (3): 1. doi:10.2307/40094666. JSTOR   40094666.
  3. Sturges, Fiona (14 April 2005). "The House of Love: Bless this house". The Independent . London.