A Memoir

Book - 2010
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The impressionistic memoir of an artist who was blinded in a sudden act of violence, leading to a profound meditation on what it means to see and be seen

"You live in a city like New York. You read the papers. You look at the television. But you never think it will happen to you. It happened to me one evening."

One summer night in 1978, Hugues de Montalembert returned home to his New York City apartment to find two men robbing him. In a violent struggle, one of the assailants threw paint thinner in Hugues' face. Within a few hours, he was completely blind.

Eloquent and provocative, Invisible moves beyond the horrific events of that night to what happened to Hugues after he lost his sight: his rehabilitation, his solo travels around the world, and the remarkable way he learned to "see" even without the use of his eyes.

Without a trace of self-pity, Hugues describes his transition from an up-and-coming painter to a blind man who had to learn to walk with a cane. His status changed in the eyes of other people as their reactions ranged from avoidance to making him their confidant. Hugues traveled to faraway places and learned to trust strangers and find himself at home in any situation.

Part philosophy, part autobiography, part inspiration, Invisible will change the way readers understand reality and their place in the world.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9781416593669
Characteristics: 127 p. ;,19 cm.


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Oct 11, 2011

This memoir has a different style, like its author. The writing is in quasi journal style although without dates.

Initially I wasn't liking his style of writing. It seemed disjointed. The abundant short paragraphs in a very small book felt inadequate to the subject. The lack of detail at times was irritating me. My father, brother, and sister all went blind so this is not a new subject to me. But gradually the author grew on me and I liked the book more and more.

Don't be put off by the unusual photo of him. He has a fear of being hit in the eyes (by object or person) and thus had a steel band designed to fit over his eyes. As for his hair, he is blind after all.

It's a good book; he sounds like a good man. I admire how he traveled to foreign countries alone and found meaning in that way of travelling. Despite writing a book about being blinded, he did not let his blindness define him.

csbryant Apr 24, 2011

This book was amazing. It was such a fast read, but it was incredibly inspiring.

Invisible is a memoir of painter de Montalembert's life after he was rendered blind by a man burglarizing his home.
Instead of taking pity upon himself, de Montalembert takes his life into his own hands. He feels that his blindness has not limited him in any ways. He travels the world solo, and discovers that people everywhere are much more open when you can't see them. Strangers confide in him, beggars help him.

Invisible describes not only de Montalembert's blindness, but also his rehabilitation, his travels and how he learns to "see" again. This book is a definite must-read for everyone.

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