A Spy in the House of Love

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A Spy in the House of Love
First edition (1954)
AuthorAnaïs Nin
CountryUnited States
PublisherSwallow Press (1954)
Penguin (1973)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages136 pp (first edition)
Followed bySeduction of the Minotaur 

A Spy in the House of Love is a novel by Anaïs Nin published in 1954. Alongside her other novels, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart and Seduction of the Minotaur, which were all first published in the United States between the 1940s and 1960s, A Spy in the House of Love was gathered into a collection of her novels known as Cities of the Interior.

The novel follows the character of Sabina; a woman who dares to enjoy the sexual licence that men have always known. Wearing extravagant outfits and playing dangerous games of desire, she deliberately avoids commitment, gripped by the pursuit of pleasure for its own sake.

In A Spy in the House of Love, Anaïs Nin expressed her individual vision of feminine sexuality with a ferocious dramatic force. Through Sabina's affairs with four men, she lays bare all the duplicity and fragmentation of self that is involved in the search of love.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The protagonist, Sabina, is a firebrand blazing through 1950s New York in the pursuit of her desires. The novel opens with her calling a random strangers' number, who happens to be a lie detector, in the middle of the night from a bar seeking to confess or find solace in the voice of a stranger. This same lie detector proceeds to follow Sabina in her activities throughout the novel. Her life becomes more and more complex the more involved she gets with her various love interests while trying to sustain her relationship with her husband, Alan, whom she feels she cannot live without. The level of deceit which she is forced to maintain with her hedonistic lifestyle leads her to regard herself as "an international spy in the house of love".

Cultural references[edit]

  • The British band The House of Love is named after the novel.[2]
  • In The Simpsons episode "Half-Decent Proposal", Moe Szyslak refers to Artie Ziff by saying, "He's like a spy in the house of Moe."
  • The TV series Dollhouse uses the phrase as the title of its ninth episode.
  • French Fashion Designer, Olympia Le-Tan, creates clutches using covers of classical literature and used "A Spy in the House of Love" for her latest collection.


  1. ^ Nin, Anaïs Nin (2001). A Spy in the House of Love. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-118371-8.
  2. ^ Sturges, Fiona (14 April 2005). "The House of Love: Bless this house". The Independent. London.

External links[edit]