Little Birds

Little Birds

by Anais Nin

Paperback(First Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, February 27

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156029049
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 02/02/2004
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 393,871
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

Ana-s Nin (1903-1977) was born in Paris and aspired at an early age to be a writer. An influential artist and thinker, she was the author of several novels, short stories, critical studies, a collection of essays, two volumes of erotica, and nine published volumes of her Diary.

Read an Excerpt

Manuel and his wife were poor, and when they first looked for an apartment in Paris, they found only two dark rooms below the street level, giving onto a small stifling courtyard. Manuel was sad. He was an artist, and there was no light in which he could work. His wife did not care. She would go off each day to do her trapeze act for the circus.

In that dark under-the-earth place, his whole life assumed the character of an imprisonment. The concierges were extremely old, and the tenants who lived in the house seemed to have agreed to make it an old people's home.

So Manuel wandered through the streets until he came to a sign: FOR RENT. He was led to two attic rooms that looked like a hovel, but one of the rooms led to a terrace, and as Manuel stepped out onto this terrace he was greeted with the shouts of schoolgirls on recess. There was a school across the way, and the girls were playing in the yard under the terrace.

Manuel watched them for a few moments, his face glowing and expanding in a smile. He was taken with a slight trembling, like that of a man anticipating great pleasures. He wanted to move into the apartment immediately, but when evening came and he persuaded Thérèse to come and inspect it, she saw nothing but two uninhabitable rooms, dirty and neglected. Manuel repeated, "But there is light, there is light for painting, and there is a terrace." Thérèse shrugged her shoulders and said, "I wouldn't live here."

Then Manuel became crafty. He bought paint, cement and wood. He rented the two rooms and devoted himself to fixing them. He had never liked work, yet this time he set about doing the most meticulous carpentry and paint job ever seen, to make the place beautiful for Thérèse. As he painted, patched, cemented and hammered, he could hear the laughter of the little girls playing in the yard. But he contained himself, waiting for the right moment. He spun fantasies of what his life would be in this apartment across from a girls' school.

In two weeks the place was transformed. The walls were white, the doors closed properly, the closets could be used, the floors no longer had holes in them. Then he brought Thérèse to see it. She was quite overwhelmed and immediately agreed to move. In one day their belongings were brought on a cart. In this new place, Manuel said, he could paint because of the light. He was dancing about, gay and changed.

Thérèse was happy to see him in such a mood. The next morning, when things were but half-unpacked and they had slept on beds without sheets, Thérèse went to her trapeze work and Manuel was left alone to arrange things. But instead of unpacking he went downstairs and walked to the bird market. There he spent the grocery money that Thérèse had given him to buy a cage and two tropical birds. He went home and hung the cage outside on the terrace. He looked down for a moment at the little girls playing, watching their legs under the fluttering skirts. How they fell upon each other in games, how their hair flew behind as they ran! Their tiny new breasts were already beginning to show in their very plumpness. His face was flushed, but he did not linger. He had a plan, and it was too perfect to surrender now. For three days he spent the food money on birds of every kind. The terrace was now alive with birds.

Each morning at ten o'clock Thérèse was off to work, and the apartment was filled with sunlight and the laughter and cries of little girls.

The fourth day Manuel stepped out on the terrace. Ten o'clock was the recreation hour. The schoolyard was animated. To Manuel it was an orgy of legs and very short skirts, which revealed white panties during the games. He was growing feverish, standing there among his birds, but finally the plan succeeded; the girls looked up.

Manuel called, "Why don't you come and see? There are birds from all over the world. There is even a bird from Brazil with the head of a monkey."

The girls laughed, but after school, impelled by curiosity, several of them ran up to his apartment. Manuel was afraid that Thérèse would come in. So he just let them watch the birds and be amused by their colored beaks and antics and odd cries. He let them chatter and look, familiarize themselves with the place.

By the time Thérèse came at one-thirty, he had won from the girls the promise that they would come and see him the next day at noon as soon as school was over.

At the appointed hour they arrived to watch the birds, four little girls of all sizes-one with long blond hair, another with curls, the third plump and languid and the fourth slender and shy, with big eyes.

As they stood there watching the birds, Manuel became more and more nervous and excited. He said, "Excuse me, I have to go and pee."

He left the door of the toilet open so that they could see him. Only one of them, the shy one, turned her face and fixed her eyes on him. Manuel had his back to the girls but looked over his shoulder to see if they were watching him. When he noticed the shy girl, with her enormous eyes, she glanced away. Manuel was obliged to button himself up. He wanted to have his pleasure cautiously. That was enough for today.

Having seen the big eyes upon him set him dreaming for the rest of the day, offering his restless penis to the mirror, shaking it like a candy or a fruit or a gift.

Manuel was well aware that he was highly endowed by nature in the matter of size. If it was true that his penis wilted as soon as he came too close to a woman, as soon as he lay at a woman's side; if it was true that it failed him whenever he wanted to give Thérèse what she wanted, it was equally true that if a woman looked at him, it would grow to enormous proportion and behave in the most vivacious way. It was then that he was at his best.

During the hours when the girls were shut in their classrooms he would frequent the pissoirs of Paris, of which there were so many-the little round kiosks, the labyrinths without doors, out of which would always come men boldly buttoning themselves while staring straight into the face of a very elegant woman, a perfumed and chic woman, who would not be immediately aware that the man was coming out of a pissoir and who would then drop her eyes. This was one of Manuel's greatest delights.

He would also stand there against the urinal and look up at the houses above his head, where often there would be a woman leaning out of a window or standing on a balcony, and from up there they would see him holding his penis. He derived no pleasure from being stared at by men or else this would have been a paradise for him, for all men knew the trick of pissing away quietly while looking at his neighbor performing the same operation. And young boys would come in for no other reason but to see and perhaps help each other along in the act.

The day when the shy girl had looked at Manuel he was very happy. He thought that now it would be easier to satisfy himself fully if only he could control himself. What he feared was the impetuous desire that took hold of him to show himself no matter what the cost, and then all would be spoiled.

This was the moment for another visit, and the little girls were coming up the stairs. Manuel had donned a kimono, one that could easily slip open, by accident.

The birds were performing quite beautifully, bickering and kissing and quarreling. Manuel stood behind the girls. Suddenly his kimono opened, and when he found himself touching long blond hair, he lost his head. Instead of wrapping his kimono, he opened it wider, and as the girls turned they all saw him standing there in a trance, his big penis erect, pointing at them. They all took fright, like little birds, and ran away.

Copyright © 1979 by Rupert Pole as trustee under the Last Will and Testament of Anaïs Nin

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Table of Contents

Little Birds
The Woman on the Dunes
Two Sisters
The Maja
A Model
The Queen
Hilda and Rango
The Chanchiquito

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Little Birds 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I a little disturbed that this cover features a woman, that looks more like a child, with the word erotica.  Gives me shivers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very conventional and timorous, apart from one or two stories. I was amazed at the rampant sexism pervading that book. Sad when you think it was written by a woman who thought of herself as free and daring. Her stylistic mannerisms are also very annoying. Boring through and through. If you want great, unusual erotica, read Bataille's 'Story of the Eye' instead.
TerriV on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was not impressed with this book at all. Especially the first story. Disturbing.
Diwanna on LibraryThing 8 months ago
What can I say, a little something for everyone here. What I like most about Nin's writing is how her characters seem to be regular people living out extraordinary events in their simple lives. No phony glitz or glamour, or over the top romantic fantasy, just the real deal.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have never read true erotic literature before - only that which can easily be found online, which is erotic but not often literary, and which is designed for a different purpose to Nin's. This collection of short stories is as good as text book as a guide to human sexuality; each piece is magnificently composed, each character finely drawn and crafted. I think I am in love.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing 11 months ago
By today's standards, this is pretty tame reading, but when it was first published, it was some pretty racy stuff! What you find here is actually worthy of being labeled literature, but make no mistake, these stories are not likely to show up on a high school reading list. These short stories have beginnings, clearly defined endings and the middles are filled with finely crafted stories and adult fantasies. Like a well cut cocktail gown, a lot is revealed, but just enough is left to our imagination that we want to see more. I highly recommend the Delta of Venus as an ideal companion volume to this one.
heidilove on LibraryThing 11 months ago
a great look at sexuality and sensuality and erotica. a perfect introduction to the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the majority. I found a few of the stories to be erotic enough to give me tingles and it was certainly a decent read. I don't think it was nearly as well penned as Delta of a Venus, though. A lyrical aspect seemed to be missing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book may have lost something in translation because I found it very blah. Many of the stories started off well and then just ended. I kept turning the page to see where the rest of the story was. There were definitely some moments in almost every story that the author seemed more like a 3rd grader writing a story than a world-renowned author, and this was always most evident at the stories endings. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the book, but there were like 3 stories that i didn't care for. Such as little birds, maja, and the one with the pig-like animal. All the others were erotic, and made my spine tingle. But if you are new to erotic then pick up this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of "starving" writers for a wealthy reader of such junk. If you have managed to wade through her diaries you will have known this. He also wanted child porno so the worse of this has not been included. If i remember the young group fed each others ideas for this porno. There was a good underground market for both writing and illustration which were on the banbed list in ebgland but smuggled i.n
Guest More than 1 year ago
classy and well written and interesting