Is it possible to love multiple people at once? Can one really devote oneself to several people all at the same time? Polyamory, in its various different forms, is just one of themes that run through this exquisitely written diary of Anaïs Nin.
In order to do this review proper justice, I should begin by stating where I am coming from. I am a fan of Henry Miller, and I have read both Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Both books mesmerized me, with their unusual narrative, blending fact and fiction, narrating about the escapades of Henry Miller in Paris. And of course, through the course of reading those books, I encounter Anaïs Nin, one of Miller's companions. It made me think what would it be like to be a companion of Henry Miller, this author who seemed to be sexually charged like no other human I have encountered.
Thus, reading Henry and June felt like I was reading the other side of the story. Anaïs narrates her emotions, from the beginning to the end. First, she gives details of how she felt for Henry Miller, as well as his wife, June Miller. Early on, Anaïs portrays herself to be someone capable of loving multiple people, of both sexes. It was quite interesting to read the deepest emotions that Anaïs had with respect to lesbianism. It also reflected the views on homosexuality back in the days. Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller lived a Bohemian life (read: not conservative), and yet Anaïs's attitudes towards lesbianism seemed rather conservative to me.
The most prominent part I take issue with is the fact that for Anaïs, it seemed that if one is female and loves another female, either of two things must happen. One either has to be masculine and take on male characteristics, or the other female should be the one to do so. I find it interesting that as much as she was bisexual, and open to the idea of lesbian relationships, the gender binary still exerts an influence on her views of same-sex relationships. Here I am, wondering, what is wrong with loving another woman, if one is also a woman, just because you find her attractive? In the way Anaïs describes June Miller, she attributes masculine characteristics to her. She dreams that June grew a penis, and that all along, she was male, and therefore was able to penetrate Anaïs. Anaïs also thinks that she is masculine and have male-type personalities, such that a feminine person like June would fancy her. These views are something that I personally disagree with. I do not mind same-sex relationships, but if one engages in one, I don't think there is the need to force one such relationship into the constraints of the traditional gender binary.