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Infrared Paperback – July 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080212027X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802120274
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,797,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


—A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year

"Huston shows her mastery of complicated structure, wide culural knowledge, and brilliant, assured portraiture."—The Globe and Mail

“There is something eminently subversive in Nancy Huston’s latest novel. A forty-five-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.”—Voir (Canada)

"Compelling . . . A finely written examination of sexual politics and the importance of emotional triage."—Quill & Quire

“Poetic . . . A ruminative and sensual read.”—Zoe Whittall, National Post (Canada)

“An intense and sensual novel”—France Soir

“Nancy Huston is in top form writing about individual and collective memories, and she knows better than most how to dramatize family destinies.”—Le Monde des Livres

"Infrared, written in lyrical slivers and voluptuous prose is an engaging work."—Canberra Times (Australia)

About the Author

Nancy Huston is the author of twelve novels, including Plainsong, which won the Governor General's Award for Fiction in French; Slow Emergencies, winner of the Prix L' and the Prix Louis-Hémon; The Mark of An Angel, awarded the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle; and Fault Lines, winner of the Prix Femina and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year.

Visit her website at

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Customer Reviews

It wasn't a bad book but it just wasn't for me.
On a personal level, I wasn't crazy about the book--mainly because I didn't care that much about the disconnected characters.
Had the first 255 pages of INFRARED been better, I would not have ended the book feeling like I'd wasted my time reading it.
Diane Kistner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rena Greenblatt, the fortyish protagonist of Nancy Huston's sensual and disturbing new novel, spends much of the book in mental dialogue with a special friend whom she names Subra. It is not hard to see that this is a backwards homage to Diane Arbus (1923-71), the American photographer of people on the fringes of everyday society. For Rena too is a photographer, whose shows include "Whore Sons and Daughters," "N[o]us," and "Misteries." Their subjects reveal how Rena's mind works, which is the main interest in the book. The first show is just as it says, the families of sex workers. The second is a series of sleeping nudes (the French title is a pun between "nudes" and "ourselves"), "bodies of all ages, colours and sexes, obese and scrawny, smooth and wrinkly, hairless and hirsute [...] every one of them beautiful." The third shows "close-ups of young men's faces twisted with hatred. Moving in... closer and closer [...] passing through layer after layer of memory all the way to childhood. It's overwhelming when that starts to show up in the revealing bath."

The revealing bath image might also serve as a description of Huston's narrative method. The frame is Rena's week-long holiday with her aging father and stepmother in Florence and Tuscany. Rena (or Huston herself) has a magnificent eye, and her encounters with artworks, famous or otherwise, sent me repeatedly to Google Images to check her observations for myself. But the main substance of the book lies in the reflections they trigger and layers of memory that are gradually peeled back. José Saramago does something similar in his
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pasiphae on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Any reader familiar with Fault Lines should expect a challenging, intelligent and transgressive story, and you are going to get one, here. The plot is simple: a photographer named Rena takes her elderly father and stepmother on a trip to Italy, and while she's there, faces difficult truths about her personal history.

Sharp, brittle, beautiful, addicted to being desirable, Rena is a fascinating creation. She is probably one of the most unreliable narrators ever written, but has a built-in correction device, an imaginary friend or alter-ego named Subra who listens to Rena's stories, nudging her into telling the small truths (she is not legally married, certain events didn't happen just exactly how or where she likes to say they happened) and then into larger truths that are so shocking as to verge on melodrama. Because of Huston's skill as a writer, the reader stays invested through all of Rena's most difficult revelations, but this is a brutally explicit story.

Italy is beautifully presented, the loveliness of the country, the food, the art, the history. But right alongside all the loveliness is that other part of travel in Italy; the fatigue, indecision, the narrowness of Florentine sidewalks, traffic noise, bad breakfasts. Rena's impatience with her father and stepmother is hilarious in a very mean-spirited way, but the vacation is only a backdrop for an internal story that is ferocious and awful and skillfully revealed. The gallows humor is just there to give the reader small times of respite before Rena reveals another episode in her childhood of horrors.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mateo52 VINE VOICE on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It doesn't take very long to discover Canadian émigré Rena Greenblatt (I believe. Don't recall last name being attributed but I think she would follow her mother's lead, professionally), an ostensibly independent spirited photographer on holiday in Florence, Italy with her aging father Simon and her stepmother Ingrid, has all of the traits that one might expect in a modern day version of the mythic and mystic classical Greek sirens or somewhat less poetically, might be just a present day cougar with a sense of escalating trepidation regarding how much longer she will remain physically alluring enough to attract the higher profile youthful game.

At age 45, she has been married three times to men of color and is currently in a relationship with another, a reporter at the same news outlet she is contracted with, another love or arguably, another object of obsession only slightly older than the eldest of her two sons. As the three vacationers explore the art, architecture and ambiance of the historical city and the surrounding environs, there is a sense of acquiescence to obligation rather than joy emanating from Rena and her guests seem equally as enthused about their travels. Meanwhile, social unrest unfolding near her home in Paris may have long term implications to her professional and personal paths dependent on the decisions she makes regarding continuation of their excursion.

Rena intimates she has an insatiable taste for eroticism and is vividly aware of her seductive powers over men and at first glance it is not difficult to understand or visualize those talents. Lucidly described, sensually and intelligently written, with a seeming absence of inhibitions she is, well, let's say it, scintillating and titillating.
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