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A Memoir

About The Book

A spare, poetic 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: “Invisible puts questions of life and suffering into sharp focus, without sanctimony or sentimentality” (Newsweek).

“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’s 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.

About The Author

© 2009 Marie-Laure de Decker

Born in France, Hugues de Montalembert is a painter and photographer who was blinded during a violent assault while living in New York in 1978. He is the author of one previous book in English, Eclipse (1985).  His story was also the basis of the acclaimed documentary film, Black Sun (2007). He currently lives in Paris. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 20, 2011)
  • Length: 144 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416593676

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Raves and Reviews

“Luminous and sensual. . . . A journey into the deepest places of the heart.”
—Geraldine Brooks

Invisible has a purity, a clarity that is truly inspiring.”
Los Angeles Times

Invisible puts questions of life and suffering into sharp focus, without sanctimony or sentimentality.”

“An artist whose lack of sight hasn’t diminished his lust for life. . . . de Montalembert displays admirable candor and biting wit.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“de Montalembert’s vital, determined voice is worth attending.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hugues de Montalembert writes beautifully. With a rare and enviable discipline and a becoming modesty, he has distilled what is essential from a life lived through and then beyond (far, far beyond!) misfortune.”
—Kate Braestrup, national bestselling author of Here If You Need Me

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