A Spy in the House of Love

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, it was gathered into a collection known as Cities of the Interior.

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 

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 summaryEdit

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


In a brief review, John L. Bradley referred to the novel as "Tentative, experimental, complex [...] a commendable effort to explore new frontiers of the modern novel."[2]

Cultural referencesEdit

  • The British band The House of Love is named after the novel.[3]
  • 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. ^ Bradley, John L. (Summer 1955). "Reviewed Work: A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin". Books Abroad. 29 (3): 1. doi:10.2307/40094666. JSTOR 40094666.
  3. ^ Sturges, Fiona (14 April 2005). "The House of Love: Bless this house". The Independent. London.

External linksEdit