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Infrared

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Award-winning author Nancy Huston follows her bestselling novel, Fault Lines, winner of the Prix Femina, with an intensely provocative story about a passionate yet emotionally-wounded woman’s sexual explorations.

After a troubled childhood and two failed marriages, Rena Greenblatt has achieved success as a photographer. She specializes in infrared techniques that expose her
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.15  · 
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 ·  246 ratings  ·  40 reviews


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Barbara McVeigh
When I initially finished Infrared I thought it was simply OK. But then I spent some time thinking about the book. Infrared is a novel that needs to sit with you and stir in your gut.

The story involves a 45-year-old woman, Rena Greenblatt, as she takes her father and stepmother on a trip to Florence, Italy. Rena, a photographer specializing in infrared photography of damaged subjects, takes along her camera not so much to take pictures, but to stave off her anxiety about the trip.

Soon the reade
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Roger Brunyate
Film in the Revealing Bath

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 mi
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Chris Craddock
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rena Greenblatt is shepherding her septuagenarian father Simon and stepmother Ingrid through a vacation in Florence, Italy, but grows increasingly frustrated that they aren't appreciating the masterpieces of the Renaissance as much as she thinks they should. Meanwhile, her job as a photojournalist and her lover/colleague Aziz are calling her back to Paris. Paris is burning and they demand that she come back at once to document the conflagration.

Rena Greenblatt is a name that only a Gastroentero
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Magdelanye
Nancy Huston is one of those enigmatic writers who manage to flourish inside of a strict frame of her own devising,even as it is covered over with a rich profussion of images and profound insights that rearrange the facts. As an ex-patriot canadian long residing in France,her work is not widely or readily available here in canada, nor,the states I suppose. Of course I snatched this new-to-me volume from the library shelves, and decided to give myself the pleasure of reading it before I tackled t ...more
Tuck
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
so subversive, sexy and smart.
a fast moving novel, a week in the life of Rena (and her "imaginary friend" Subra, to whom she talks to incessantly, because either rena doesn't want to talk to anybody else, or no one wants to listen to her? no sure, but i know how she feels) visiting tuscany with her old man and stepmother. so sure, rena is a famous globe trotting photographer who uses infrared, and yes, she has been horribly abused as a little girl and she is trying to still be a good mother, lov
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Veronique
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
I've read a few books from Nancy Huston, liked them all and this one was a big disappointment. I don't mind disturbing characters, they can be quite interesting, but I found Rena impossible to like. I can understand her difficult past (actually, abusive might be more appropriate), but that does not allow her to be so judgmental, cynical, unforgiving,and her total lack of compassion. She seems so arrogant, understanding all these great painters, and despising all those "stupid tourists" around he ...more
Lulu
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting way of approaching memoir, mixing first and third voice in fascinating ways, through the use of an inner voice who both listens to and rebukes Rena (oh, don't we all have one of those). I would like to submit this novel for consideration of how to write sex scenes. Not awkward at all, but since we are dealing with a dishonest narrator, I did find myself wondering how many of these intimate encounters were actual experiences and how many were pure fantasy - an important distinction wh ...more
Dawn Ferchak
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rena Greenblatt is a 45-year old photographer on holiday with her father and stepmother. Rena’s medium is infrared photography; the reasons for her choice are beautifully explained in the above excerpt. Accompanying the often uncomfortable trio is Subra, Rena’s imaginary alter ego, a sister in her mind who has been with her since adolescence. At home in Paris is Aziz, Rena’s young lover, who is dealing with race riots and national emergencies. Rena’s stepmother is annoying. Rena’s father is agin ...more
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I've never been a fan of ekphrasis because it's rarely done well, and Huston's effort in INFRARED is no exception. It's like she started with the Florentine works of art as an organizing idea and then loosely hung some shreds of some characters' flesh on the structure to try to make a book out of it. The book's description and blurbs lead us to believe we are going to find something very powerful and real in these pages—or at least something titillating and erotic—but I found myself more than on ...more
Charles
This is a somewhat rambling description of a 1 week Tuscan holiday to which the main character-Rena Greenblatt, a photographer in her 40's, originally a Montrealer, but living in Paris-treats her father Simon & stepmother Ingrid. Rena's experiments with infrared photography to explore the hidden inner aspects of her subjects & views herself as an infrared sensitive film capturing hidden events. As the trip unfolds, it is apparent that Rena hates it, because she dislikes her dull conventional ste ...more
Joje
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claude just finished it and it sounds yummy. It's about time I read something French again, and something fictional after New Yorker investigations and now The Shallows, which is good with some new info that I hadn't actually already read in MacLuhan, New Yorker science and media articles, and wherever else I roam. Starting this one may slow that one down, but mostly it's work does that.

End of March: This one has taken a while, because it's still a busy time and I do read articles between the ev
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Sandrine
I am a fan of Nancy Huston, having read probably close to 10 of her books (Fault lines being the best). I therefore picked up Infrared without checking the story nor the reviews. It is a very disturbing novel to say the least, all the most if you know that N Huston is a highly respected novelist.
Disturbing as the main story (trip with her dad and step mother) is slow, frustrating and never really explained - why did Rena decided to organise it in the first place. The minute she arrives, she is
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Michael
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A Paris-based photographer visits Tuscany with her aging father and stepmother. I think this kind of book is known as a "beach read." I don't like beaches, and I don't like this book.

Huston writes well- her prose flows smoothly, her dialogue carries you along, and her description of Florence and the surrounding area is well-wrought- but she's shallow. As the book builds towards its denouement of self-awareness the threads of her ideas start looking pretty bare and trite. Finally, using Subra (Ar
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Ann
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Photographer Rena is a raw character. When we meet her she is touring Florence with her 70-year-old father and her stepmother. Her frustration with the older couple brings to mind teenage rebellion. Rena worships and yet often despises men. She delights in sex and yet slowly reveals less-than-thrilling past experiences. Her narration is not entirely reliable as her invisible friend reminds her occasionally. She prefers to view the world through the lens of a camera and tourism with all the guide ...more
Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
4 stars because it is so well written. 3 stars because I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. Too much angst, pretentiousness, stuff I know nothing, or very little about and unresolved feelings. As a survivor of Catholicism, sexual abuse, male-dominated upbringing and life in the 50's, I understand all to well how childhood, family, culture and gender impact our lives and the lives of our children. This Huston covers well, but unfortunately without resolution. ...more
McArthur and Company
The Quill & Quire gave Infrared a starred review, writing, "Huston uses a number of different methods of portraying dialogue. The way she controls the pace so firmly, while varying it frequently, creates a rhythm that draws the reader inexorably along." ...more
The Librarian
I proved to myself once again that literary fiction and I rarely make good bedfellows. The plodding storyline coupled with the use of an imaginary friend to a 45 year old woman irked me after awhile.
Lynn Kearney
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I hoped this would be better than it was,, having won the GG for fiction. Despite its Tuscan setting, I found it pretentious and disliked the protagonist intensely.
Todd
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Catherine
Really a 3.5. Very well written book but is disturbing and at times unsettling to read.
Martha
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read again in May 2015
Maureen
Good writing, but didn't hold my interest, as somehow the characters seemed held at a distance, as though the metaphor of the camera took over the book itself. ...more
Chantale
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed
The book follows a female photographer on holiday with her father and stepmother.

Huston writes mainly in French and translates her material into English.
Kara Bohonowicz
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fault Lines was my first Huston novel to read and Infared was next....I quickly read two more of her novels!
Patricia L.
Loved the idea, but the holiday was kind of frustrating.
Any Length
Jan 05, 2014 marked it as discarded  ·  review of another edition
This book bored me to tears. And after 10 Chapters I gave up on it.
Shannon
This was challenged because of its sexually explicit content. I enjoyed the main plot, the sex is just a subtext, though there's a reason this won 2012 bad sex writing.
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Julia
Jul 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea. I usually find prize winners or nominees too arty and deep, and this was to the point were you constantly got lost, no knowing where you were in the story.
glenn boyes
aspects where intriguing and then there were the infamous parts....
Stephanie Williams
Jul 09, 2013 marked it as books-i-can-t-finishing-reading
I had to stop reading this book cause I can't get into it. ...more
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(from Wikipedia)
Huston lived in Calgary until age fifteen, at which time her family moved to Wilton, New Hampshire, USA. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she was given the opportunity to spend a year of her studies in Paris. Arriving in Paris in 1973, Huston obtained a Master's Degree from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, writing a thesis on swear words und
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