After a childhood marked by pain, Rena Greenblatt has found the strength to build a successful career as a photographer. Like the ultrasensitive infrared film she uses, Rena sees what others don’t see, and finds a form of love.
Rena travels to Tuscany with her father and his second wife. As the trip progresses, in an internal dialogue with her mental double, Rena submits her past to exposure. Using dark room techniques she reevaluates her explosive sexual coming of age, her relationships with her father, her family and her various lovers.
With exceptional flair and talent, Nancy Huston explores the links between family intimacies and our collective lives, between destruction and creation. In the spirit of her bestselling novel Fault Lines, Infrared is a story about how childhood, family, and our culture all have a direct impact on our lives.
Praise for Infrared
“The novel flows with a thematic coherence built up out of many small and tenuously connected episodes. Huston shows her usual mastery of complicated structure, her wide cultural knowledge and her brilliant, assured portraiture.”
— The Globe and Mail
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“Infrared is not for those who enjoy a simple narrative… It’s a more ruminative and sensual read, for those who prefer to move through a story on several different paths, exploring the plot from various angles and discovering meaning in the rhythms therein.”
— National Post
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An intense and sensual novel, in which unapologetic feminism never for a minute excludes the desire for men.
— France Soir
There is something eminently subversive in Nancy Huston’s latest novel. A 45-year-old woman dares to talk about her sexuality, her immense desire for men. But even more, Infrared is a staggering expression of the power of art as salvation.
Nancy Huston is at her best in this portrait of a troubled woman who is simultaneously an ambiguous mother, an insatiable and mature lover, and a daughter distraught at the decline of her father. A snapshot of great depth, and written in a perfectly limpid prose.
— Charlie Hebdo
Nancy Huston is in top form writing about individual and collective memories, and she knows better than most how to dramatise family destinies.
— Le Monde des Livres
Rena is slanting to the right, slowly sinking farther and farther to the right on the red leather seat of the coffee shop, gradually collapsing against Ingrid’s corpulent maternal body. They’ve been up all night, and it’s been a long night indeed. Ingrid puts an arm around her and in the dawn’s uncertain light it would be difficult to say which of the two women is hanging onto the other. Though her eyes are closed, Rena is not asleep—far from it. She’s conscious of the smells of bleach and frothy milk, the bitter taste of tobacco in her throat, the soft touch of Ingrid’s blouse against her cheek, all the reassuring noises in the café—spoons clinking, doors opening and shutting, to say nothing of the numerous overlapping voices, businessmen in a hurry to down a last ristretto before boarding the train for Rome, a drunkard ordering his first beer of the day, loudspeaker announcements about arrivals and departures, the chatter of waitresses. I sink therefore I am, Rena says to herself, or rather, I’m sinking towards the right therefore I am in Italy, in italics, all my thoughts are in italics, insisting, repeating, recriminating, accusing, screaming at me, “How is it possible? You claim to be an ultrasensitive film and yet you saw nothing, noticed nothing, detected nothing, guessed at nothing, comprehended nothing?“ No, because—not that, you understand, breast yes skin yes stomach yes bronchia yes mediastinum yes, since 1936 infrared photography has been used in all those areas but not in this one not in this one no, no, not at all.