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Up until 1978, the author, a French count by birth, was a painter. He travelled extensively working on documentary films such as I A Dancer about Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. He took a deep interest in the culture of the countries he visited: the harlem voodoo in West Africa and Indonesian music in Bali. On May 25th 1978, when returning to his apartment in New York from a Greenwich Village coffee-house, he was met by two intruders who threw caustic solution in his face. At the age of thirty-five he was blinded for life. Hugues de Montalembert is currently based in Rome although he continues to travel between Europe, America and South East Asia. The French edition of ECLIPSE became a bestseller when it was published in 1982 and the author is currently working on his second book.
Eclipse is the autobiographical work by a young artist living in New York. It describes, from the evening he was attacked and lost his sight, the two years it took to him to go back to Life and swim freely in the sea of Java. 'I had to give birth to myself.' The beautiful, unpredictable and eccentric ballerina, Valouchka, leads him into the reconquest of the dance with life. Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre, joy, despair, love. and one morning, he closes the door behind and flies alone to Indonesia. 'Fear is the true Blindness'. You experiment in those pages a deep meditation on life, love, perception, visual world and inner vision. Poignant, poetic and sometimes hilarious, this book is a Song to Life, which questions all of us.
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.
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