To say that Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin is erotica that has something for everyone may be the understatement of the century. While most of the short stories were written in the 1940’s for a private collector, they were not published worldwide until after Nin’s death in the late 1970’s. The collector asked Nin to write about sex “without the poetry” and thus strip the love and emotion from the act of intercourse. Delta of Venus, while not entirely devoid of love, is definitely devoid of the sense of expectancy that comes with reading most “normal” erotica.
Without warning, the book promptly delves into the controversial topics of incest, pedophilia, abuse, prostitution, rape, the degradation of women, and even one instance of necrophilia! Like I said, not what one expects when picking up a naughty book to read. In my opinion the extreme subject matter directed the attention away from the relationships between the characters and shocked one’s sensibilities. More disturbing than titillating, really.
However, for all the book’s outrageousness, Nin is a complex author who is deeply involved with each character she creates. I did enjoy the fact that instead of every story being separate unto itself, several important “main” characters appeared numerous times throughout. In this way, I was able to learn more about their sexual pasts, as well as what happened with them once a relationship with one character ended and another began.
I would recommend this book to those that are looking for something out of the ordinary and would enjoy the shock value of it all. If you are a “vanilla sex” type of person looking to read about “lovemaking”… this isn’t the book for you…
I’ll give Delta of Venus a 2.5 stars out of 5, but it’s surely not for the faint of heart.