"The Four-Chambered Heart," Anais Nin's 1950 novel, recounts the real-life affair she conducted with cafe guitarist Gonzalo More in 1936. Nin and More rented a house-boat on the Seine, and under the pervading influence of the boat's watchman and More's wife Helba, developed a relationship. More named the boat "Nanankepichu," meaning "not really a ...Read More"The Four-Chambered Heart," Anais Nin's 1950 novel, recounts the real-life affair she conducted with cafe guitarist Gonzalo More in 1936. Nin and More rented a house-boat on the Seine, and under the pervading influence of the boat's watchman and More's wife Helba, developed a relationship. More named the boat "Nanankepichu," meaning "not really a home." In the novel, which Nin drew from her experiences on the boat, the characters are clearly based. Djuna is an embodiment of Nin herself. A young dancer in search of fulfillment, she encapsulates all that the author was striving for at that time. The character of Djuna features in other novels, perhaps weaving a directly autobiographical thread into Nin's fiction. The gypsy musician, Rango, is therefore More, and his invalid wife is Zora. The old watchman is present as a force which, along with Zora, works against the lovers in their quest for happiness. Nin's main concern is the "outside," and how it affects the "interior." Water is a cleverly used theme. "I have no great fear of depths," says Djuna, "and a great fear of shallow living." Rango and Djuna's relationship is, in effect, their effort to remain afloat. Often, Nin employs a stream of consciousness, especially in her flowing analyses of love, life and music, which continues the water image. Anais Nin's writing is typically exquisite in its detail and texture. She describes Paris: its "black lacquered cobblestones" and "silver filigree trees." The "humid scarfs of fog" on the river, and "the sharp incense of roasted chestnuts" reveal their source through their reality: Nin's personal experience.Read Less
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