It is rare when I put down a book of erotica and feel a sense of literary satisfaction, but that is what happened when I finished Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus last week. Comprising of 15 short stories, the book was commissioned by an anonymous collector in the 1940s. Nin managed to infuse the stories with a sense of the literary, and unusually for erotica, the book manages to be sexy without being distasteful. There is nothing extra here; there is nothing added for the sake of shock value, and a lot of modern erotic writers can take a page or two out of this book.
The characters in these short stories are both exceptional and compelling, and there is a sense of leaving you wanting more, even after the story ends. Whether it is Mathilde, the Parisian hatmaker who leaves her husband and her cushy married life in order to travel to the opium dens of Peru, or the Hungarian adventurer who seduces wealthy women in order to abscond with their money, or the veiled woman who scans the guests at a fashionable restaurant as a prelude to romantic trysts, it is impossible to put this book down, even for an instant.
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