Before I go to bed, I look under my bed with fear. I fear the dark, the storms, the sea, the unknown and my own darkness.
— Paula Maxa
Written as a lost volume from her celebrated diaries, ANAÏS NIN AT THE GRAND GUIGNOL follows the iconic feminist author into an erotic and twilit realm of dark fantasy and sexual obsession, a world of forbidden desire and deadly consequence from which she might never fully return.
In the aftermath of her love triangle with novelist HENRY MILLER and his dancer wife June, thirty-year-old ANAÏS NIN is left reeling. Stifled by her bourgeois marriage, she retreats into the midnight world of the GRAND GUIGNOL, the legendary theatre of horror and fear whose devoted patrons thrill at the macabre spectacles depicted on the black box stage. It is there that she falls under the spell of the actress PAULA MAXA, known as THE MOST MURDERED WOMAN OF ALL TIME, who awakens Anaïs to a secret realm of bewitchment and vice, of pleasure and pain.
Only Maxa already belongs to MONSIEUR GUILLARD, the lustful night creature that haunts the dark streets of Pigalle. As the demon lover's insatiable hunger grows stronger by the hour, Anaïs finds herself trapped in a far more dangerous triangle, a cat-and-mouse game with Maxa's very soul as the ultimate prize.
"The writing is beautiful, from the descriptions of place, to the sex, to the macabre world of the bizarre theatre. A mysterious, whirling fantasy."
— Jeffrey Ford
“Lush, erotic horror, as decadent and chilling as an overgrown garden of decaying roses. Robert Levy has created a mesmerizing tale of desire and death, just as Anaïs Nin would have written.”
— Livia Llewellyn
"Robert Levy gives us the best seat in the house for the only show that matters, the dark delirious battle of sex and death, in Anaïs Nin at the Grand Guignol. Applause!"
— Kathe Koja, author of Cipher and the Under the Poppy trilogy