Invisible: A Memoir

Hugues De Montalembert, Author
Hugues De Montalembert, Author Atria Books $21.99 (127p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9366-9
Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-7318-1539-5
Paperback - 127 pages - 978-1-4165-9367-6
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-1-4391-0068-4
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Blinded in a senseless attack in his New York home in 1978, de Montalembert, then a filmmaker and painter, was violently forced out of his intensely visual world. In this raw memoir, more a brainstorming session than a narrative, he approaches his new life with stunning directness, navigating the environs of Manhattan and, not much later, Bali and Greenland, with precocious new confidence and ability. He's also painfully honest about the affects of his blindness, refusing the comfort of standard tropes about spirituality but finding wonder in the kindness of absolute strangers, isolation from those closest to him, and other un-thought-of moments of triumph and despair stemming from the way his condition affects his closest relationships. A French-born artist, de Montalembert will draw inevitable comparisons to Jean-Dominique Bauby (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and de Montalembert's effort is certainly a more challenging read, stylistically: broken, brief, at times like a prose poem. It depends on the reader whether this approach makes for a cumulative impact, or just gets tiring. Still, de Montalembert vital, determined voice is worth attending.
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