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 pictures’ otherwise hidden landscapes and capture the raw essence of deeply private moments in the lives of her subjects.
Away from her lover, and stuck in Florence, Italy, with her infuriating stepmother and her aging, unwell father, Rena confronts not only the masterpieces of the Renaissance but the banal inconveniences of a family holiday. At the same time, she finds herself travelling into dark and passionate memories that will lead to disturbing revelations.
Infrared is both an explicitly bold story of how sexuality is influenced by childhood, family, and culture, and a portrait of a woman coming to terms with the end of her father’s life. With exceptional flair and intelligence, Huston fearlessly investigates the links between family intimacies and our collective lives, between destruction and creation.
Huston s exceptional new novel (after the Prix Femina Award winning Fault Lines) chronicles a weeklong Italian trip taken by photographer Rena Greenblatt to celebrate her father s 70th birthday. Trouble brews early when two teenagers are electrocuted near Rena s home in Paris, sparking riots, and Rena s lover/colleague urges her to come back to document the chaos. As Rena gets lost in an internal conversation with her imaginary sister, Huston expertly navigates past and present, taking us into vivid recollections of Rena s absent lawyer mother, who killed herself; the secret alliances Rena shared with her scientist father, a one-time radical who didn t live up to his potential; her complicated relationship with her older brother; her somewhat dim stepmother, Ingrid; her many affairs; and how all of it made her who she is. Huston makes her protagonist likable despite her irksome quirks: she s short with her guileless stepmother, indignant and quick to start arguments with anyone who disagrees with her; in short, Rena feels truly real, which makes the novel s abrupt ending all the more disappointing.