Book Review: Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

Little Birds by Anaïs Nin
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: 1979
Source: Purchased

Evocative and superbly erotic, Little Birds is a powerful journey into the mysterious world of sex and sensuality. From the beach towns of Normandy to the streets of New Orleans, these thirteen vignettes introduce us to a covetous French painter, a sleepless wanderer of the night, a guitar-playing gypsy, and a host of others who yearn for and dive into the turbulent depths of romantic experience. 

Oh dear. When I found this book in the “old and unusual” section of my library’s used bookstore, I thought it would be something at least moderately entertaining. I guess it was, but more in an infuriating way than anything else. I think this is the least sexy erotica I’ve ever read in my life.

What follows is a brief summary of all thirteen short stories in this collection.

Click at your own risk. 1. Little Birds, a.k.a. “I take the food money my wife leaves me and spend it on pretty birds so I can lure underage girls to my apartment and then flash them.”
Probably the most disturbing of all the stories, this one features a “loving husband” who takes the money his wife earns working at the circus to buy colorful birds. Keep in mind that he’s supposed to be buying food with this money. He creates a whole menagerie in his apartment and eventually lures in some underage girls from the school across the street. Unsurprisingly, he exposes himself to them and they run away, traumatized. In what universe is this sexy?

2. The Woman on the Dunes, a.k.a. “One time I had sex on the beach and then this woman told me about how she got raped at a hanging.”
This one started off well enough, and then we had to get into this really detailed account of the woman attending a hanging and getting raped in the crowd, simultaneously aroused and horrified. It was just very, very odd.

3. Lina, a.k.a. “So boring that I literally forgot what it was about.”
Like… I read this yesterday and I don’t even remember what it was about.

4. Two Sisters, a.k.a. “My sister and I were molested by our brothers while growing up and now I just want to have sex with her husband.”
One of the bigger “yikes” stories in this collection, this one features everyone cheating on everyone with some molestation thrown in for no real reason. I really fail to see the point of this one.

5. Sirocco, a.k.a. “The first of multiple stories where the woman has to listen to her husband having sex with someone else in the next room.”
Not sure what’s supposed to be sexy about this, but at least it’s short.

6. The Maja, a.k.a. “I don’t want to have sex with my wife but I do want to have sex with a painting of her.”
I don’t even know what else to say.

7. A Model, a.k.a. “Everybody wants to have sex with a model, the longest and also most boring story in this collection.”
There’s a whole lot going on in this one — a woman who wants to model but doesn’t want to have random sex with men calling themselves artists (this is somehow a problem), a very misplaced aside about having sex with women in the jungle, and then another misplaced aside about a horseback riding injury possibly breaking her clitoris.

8. The Queen, a.k.a. “Let’s talk about a prostitute dripping semen at a ball.”
This is another one that’s just… not possibly sexy in any possible way.

9. Hilda and Rango, a.k.a. “He’s so manly that even his penis is strong.”
If you enjoy hearing about “charcoal eyes” and “wild hair” while a “strong penis” pounds into someone, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

10. The Chanchiquito, a.k.a. “Fantasies about bestiality.”
Just disturbing, honestly.

11. Saffron, a.k.a. “The super, extremely, no-doubt-about-it racist one.”
A woman wonders why her husband wants to have sex with the servants instead of her and then learns that it’s because he likes the way their skin smells like saffron. This whole story is one cringe after another, but the worst is possibly when the bride’s body is described as several different racial stereotypes.

12. Mandra, a.k.a. “Sex with my married friends.”
Basically, this woman goes around having sex with all of her married friends or just staring at them naked while the husbands are in the other room.

13. Runaway, a.k.a. “Taking advantage of a homeless underage girl.”
Why yes, I would love to read about this innocent underage girl being taken in by two older men who take advantage of her. Thank you.


I expected at least a smidgen more sexiness from these erotic short stories. What little sexiness it actually had was killed by the pedophilia and racism. Definitely not recommended.

#mmd19: a book published before you were born


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30 thoughts on “Book Review: Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

  1. Ally Writes Things says:

    Sara I’m crying this is the funniest post I’ve read in a while. All of your one-liners were hilarious. I’m going to print this review and save it for when I’m sad and need a laugh.

    I feel like this collection is just another example of “men need to not sometimes (always)”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hannargh says:

    I thought your summaries of the short stories were hilariously accurate! Although I read Delta of Venus a little while ago and there was a really interesting author biography at the start, which explained that the erotica she was writing was for a ‘collector’ (or group of them) and that these were written for that specific audience. In fact, some of the erotica in Delta of Venus completely mocks and subverts the style – some is a free exploration of everything that is ‘erotica’ (including yes, paedophilia, beastiality and other things) and some focuses so much on the characters and the story that the sex is almost coincidental – partly because she was getting paid per page, and partly to ‘tease’. I might be giving Anais Nin too much credit, but I think she was trying to be a bit more clever than just writing weird smut 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. nsfordwriter says:

    I read some of her stories before… really didn’t like them. My only memory is that in one of the stories a woman actually puts lipstick on her… you know what. I don’t know why that stuck with me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. dinipandareads says:

    Wow, this sounds… really horrible? Lol I don’t generally DNF books but I think this one might’ve forced my hand. Sounds awful! Props to you for getting through the stories and thanks for the warning! Yikes 😕

    Liked by 2 people

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