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Remarks On Winter of Artifice by Anais Nin

March 10, 2011
Cover of "Winter Of Artifice"

Cover of Winter Of Artifice

Winter of Artifice by Anais Nin is a set of three novelettes that explore relationships between woman and lover, woman and father, and patient and therapist.  Nin writes eloquently in her stories and goes deep into the intricacies of the imperfections of relationships.  The beauty of her language balances the often negative nature of the stories themselves.  The prose used in the three stories give each story a haunting and unearthly quality, while exposing some of the deep seeded realities of human nature.

The first tale is of a young actress balancing her love life.  The primary focus in this novelette is the focus on the insecurities of the protagonist.

“What Stella had seen on the screen, the figure of which she had been so instantaneously jealous, was the free Stella.  What did not appear on the screen was the shadow of Stella, her demons, doubt and fear.  And Stella was jealous.  She was not only jealous of a more beautiful woman, but of a free woman.”

The second story is of the harsh relationship between a young woman and her father and its transformation as she grows.  Her father is a harsh personality that she worships as a young child, but she grows older her perspectives on her father shift.

“Now that the world was standing on its head and the figure of her father had become immense, like the figure of a myth, now that from thinking too much about him she had lost the sounds of his voice, she wanted to open her eyes again and make sure that all this had not killed the light, the steadiness of the earth, the bloom of the flowers, and the warmth of her other loves.”

The final story is of “the Voice,” a therapist.  It explores the relationship of the therapist to his patients.  The nature of his therapist as a man as opposed to the therapist.  Another relationship of this tale is that of two female patients to one another.

“I feel that madness is only solitude.  You only go mad when you see something no one else sees.  There is a moment before madness when a person has not yet cut the cord of connection and at this moment someone can hold him back.”

Nin’s style of writing is unique and exquisite.   The images created within the novelettes are vivid and detailed.  The prose is beautiful.  All I want to do with this book is share quotes to demonstrate the brilliance of her writing style.

“Now her heart was no longer a heart, it was a drum beating continuously.  The skin of her body was stretched like a drum.  The tips of her hair were no longer hair, but electric wires charged with lightning.  The hair was linked to lightning, the heart was a drum; the skin was a fruit skin exposed to warmth and cold.”

Overall, the beauty of Nin’s words make this set of novelettes a great read.  If you get a chance to read this set of stories I would highly recommend it.

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