Ladders to Fire explores the erotic attachments of four young women. Nin described it as a “woman’s struggle to understand her own nature.” It began a five-volume “continuous novel,” Cities of the Interior, which includes Children of the Albatross (1947), The Four-Chambered Heart (1950), A Spy in the House of Love (1954), and Solar Barque (1959). Set in the pre-war, expatriate Paris of Henry Miller, this novel — which shocked Nin’s contemporaries — draws its inspiration from her confessional diaries. Although Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.