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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2002
This was the first Anais Nin book I ever read and I was quite blown away by it. It sparked a deep interest in Nin's writing which I still feel, over ten years after having read "Henry and June" for the first time. This book traces Nin's sexual awakening as well as her discovery of the joy of living and writing in Paris in the early 1930s, and is written in an intimate, captivating and erotic tone - her descriptions of sexual desire are deeply affecting. Nin's style is not for everyone, but I can guarantee that "Henry and June" will be unlike anything else you've ever read.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2002
I thought this was an excellent book.
Adapted from Anais's own journals, it follows her affair with the writer Henry Miller, and also her infatuation with his wife June.
It was a wonderful insight into the more sensitive and quite vunerable aspects of Anais personality, written with such genuine feeling and great frankness, that it is lovely to be able to clearly define her different moods.
She describes her characters with fantastic skill and great care it would seem, so that early on within the book you have clear pictures and insight into each one.
This book literally oozes feminine charm and is
one of those books that you never want to put down, in my opinion one of her best works, a definite must for any Anais fan, and an ideal book to start with if you have never read anything by Anais Nin before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 December 2010
Henry and June is an assemblage from the diaries of Anaïs Nin, who had an affair with Henry Miller in 1931-2. As it begins, Nin has just written a piece on Lawrence's Chatterley, appropriately since Henry and June is explicitly erotic. Nin was married at the time, and she writes: 'The liberty which I have given myself in Hugo's name [her husband], like a gift from him, only increases the richness and potency of my love for him. Amorality, or a more complicated morality, aims at the ultimate loyalty and overlooks the immediate and literal one.' Considerations of loyalty, though, soon get ditched as Nin and Henry Miller fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, Nin also makes fresh conquests, including her psychoanalyst. And the tale is made all the spicier by her attraction to June, Henry's temporarily absent wife. If this were a contemporary novel, it would risk falling flat, a tale of perversion from which today's sexual mores would have removed all the courage. But that it is drawn from Nin's own testimony and that it belongs to the 1930s, a time when female sexuality was still essentially taboo, makes it an extraordinary document. At the same time, it is worth noting that because it is not a novel, Henry and June does not read like one, missing the character development, plotting, and context that makes the reader turn the pages of a piece of fiction. Indeed, while Nin's confessions are interesting to consider, they eventually get repetitive, and even her daring eroticism ceases to surprise in the end.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Anais became trapped in a number of criss cross relationships. She is married to Hugh Guiler who takes on the role of her emotional relationship anchor whilst she sets sail on her personal quest. He works in a bank and provides the foundations for the lavish lifestyle in terms of money and a certain amount of stability. This bedrock provides Anais with the freedom to experiment with her life style.

Her sexuality awakens when she is asked to perform for a theatre agent full coitus or oral to get the job. Prior to this with Hugh, her sex life had the ambiance of two wooden dolls with a peg and a hole meeting as mannequins.

With the agent she tells us she manages to disengage with her honour intact. Her next encounter is with Henry Miller and his wife June. Already open to experimenting sexually, as she has discovered her inner desires in the works of DH Lawrence, who took his ideas from Frieda and Otto Gross, the story begins.

The rest of the pages are filled with her thoughts and daydreams on the roller coaster ride of abandoning the sexually shy Catholic girl, the one who was despoiled and vandalised by her father when she was 9 years old, to embracing the satyrs of lust, to find meaning. All undertaken at a time when women were still perceived to be under the patriarchical cosh.

The writing is done in a breathy feminine prose, that either bores the skin off the knuckles, or gently hypnotises the reader with its sparkle, as she concentrates less on the physical action and more on the growing emotional insight.

At this point she finally "comes" alive and begins to tick, echoing Wilhelm Reich's thoughts on an orgiastic celebration. She has some Nietzschean style personal insights on the nature of relationships- an oxymoron as he could never sustain one.

Anais on the other hand could keep them going in multiples each operating simultaneously as a constant twirl of lovers. Each recipient had her playing a part which she enacted with stand off glee, especially with her therapists. As she embarked she sat back and looked at herself in the looking glass mirror and suddenly revealed all. It was the making of her and brought in the confessional novel for women, the foundation for all different shades of grey.

Within the book you gain insight into different forms of femininity, as she details the steel hard June who overpowers the seemingly naive Anais, as the latter sought to ingratiate herself through supplication, but gradually she reverses the roles to dominate her.

Within the book the adulation moves between polarities as June is dissected into pieces and the perceptions are anything but rapturous, just condemnations. Anais was the consummate game player, and this details how anyone with the verve, time and energy along with a rich husband can join the Dionysian revelry. She also exposes what would be termed a sociopath.

Anais arose from more humble Bohemian roots who portrayed the lady. So she was never a spoilt brat, but a frozen one, who eventually, against all the odds, became a liberator of the spirit. But often, as she details with precision, at others emotional expense and in return she offered them money and her body in recompense for their emotional cascades.

Complicated- yes-

Easy to read- yes;

There is the enigma.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2015
...in comparison, in competition, in understanding and confusion. Of love and humanity, of writer and narrative there is no greater insight I hope...and if there is, do not direct me to it for I would not read it. Since I have found so much of myself here, I am loathed to leave Anais Nin for a long long time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2007
I first read this book several years ago, and I've reread it many times since then and bought copies for some people close to me. I identify very much with Anais in this book. Her style makes it very accessible while the prose is very rich and poetic, and the 'story' is involving.

It's had a very profound effect on my life, and continues to influence me. A very powerful and worthwhile read.
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on 10 December 2013
288 pages of the same, if you read first 20-30 pages you have read it all
goes on and on about her sexual adventures with different people which did not interest me at all
surprised that so many people liked it... if you are looking for a good story, don't buy it
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2007
This is Anais Nin's diary of her ambivalent love affair with the writer Henry Miller. She describes the turmoil of her awakening to the deficiencies of her husband Hugo, and throughout she documents her progress with her therapist Allendy.

Nin is pulled between the passion and selfishness of Henry, to which she is erotically attracted, only to find the opposite qualities in Hugo. Nin's poeticism portrays her attraction to the darker sides of human nature, as well as her own capacity to plumb these darker qualities in herself.

Although this is an interesting account of Nin's love life at a time when such affairs were unusual, this is ultimately a personal diary and as such, becomes a little tedious at times.
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A classic erotic story - even better because it is a diary. The style is a bit old-fashioned, but let's face it, people read books then.
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on 2 September 2013
As a continual reader of the various forms of the Diary, an well pleased with this latest addition.
Just brilliant.
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