Anaïs Nin: The Last Days
A Memoir by Barbara Kraft
“I have chosen to reveal the intimacies of Anaïs Nin’s last days as I witnessed them so that the story of her death is not lost,” Kraft writes. “Everything comes back in the mind’s eye. Everything comes back in the crucible of the heart. She remains in my psyche all these years later as the most refined and rarified human being I have ever encountered.”
Thus begins Barbara Kraft’s memoir Anaïs Nin: The Last Days. With her sometimes loving and sometimes raw prose, Kraft has captured the humanity, mortality, and essence of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and yet mysterious literary figures. .Anaïs Nin: The Last Days had a pre-release in late-March, receiving enthusiastic reviews from readers all across America, available at most bookstores and on the Internet as a print book and as an eBook. Anaïs Nin: The Last Days.
Anaïs Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was one of the most unique literary figures of the twentieth century. Her life-long diary, which spans more than 60 years, resembles no other in the history of letters. Author of novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica, Nin was at the apex of her long-desired literary success when she died in 1977 at the age of 74. Born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised, she lived most of her life in the United States.
Noted for her deeply reflective, lyrical and erotic diaries, Nin became an icon of the feminist movement in the 60s. She was known as well for her many lovers they included Henry Miller, her analysts Rene Allendy and Otto Rank, Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal and her own father; the affair with her father was published posthumously as Incest. Henry Miller called her a ‘masterpiece’ and’ the greatest fabulist he had ever known.’ Her brother Joaquin referred to her as a ‘steel hummingbird’ and Edmund Wilson wrote that she was “a lovely nymph who was not quite a human being.
Nin was at the height of her fame when she took on Barbara Kraft as a writing student in 1974. Kraft would read to Nin from the diary that Nin urged her to begin keeping. Kraft describes her initial meeting with Nin, writing that Nin was ‘poetry embodied’ and seemed to ‘glide’ over the rose-colored carpet of her Silver Lake home ‘like a swan skimming the surface of still waters.’ In December of that year, Kraft begins what was to become a chronicle of Nin’s terrible three-year battle with cancer. “I can’t tell the world about my illness, Barbara, but you can, and I want the world to know. I want you to write about this.”
The result of Nin’s request was Anaïs Nin: The Last Days, written by Barbara Kraft and published by Pegasus Books for release in November 2013. This book will appeal to millions of readers who have come to know and admire Anaïs Nin’s candid style of writing, with insightful commentary about a bygone era with incredible relevance to our own. And the very personal events in this book will also resonate with anyone who has gone through terminal disease or knows someone who has. So, like Nin herself, the raw reality of Anaïs Nin: The Last Days becomes symbolic, mythical, and universally inspirational.
Barbara Kraft is the author of Anaïs Nin: The Last Days (2013), Pegasus Books and The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini. The latter was published in 1976 with a preface by Anaïs Nin and laudatory comment by the late Carlos Baker, definitive biographer of Ernest Hemingway and Professor of Literature at Princeton. Kraft has also written several libretti and radio plays including a play on the legendary muse of William Butler Yeats, Maud Gonne. The play won an Ohio State Award as “an outstanding example of original radio drama as written and directed by KPFK’s Barbara Kraft.”
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former reporter for Time magazine
Barbara Kraft Interview with Connie Martinson