Friday, April 20, 2012

invisible man

I read this for school. In fact, this is the last book I'll ever read for school!

I can't review this book saying things like "It was okay" or "I liked it." The unfortunate life of our narrator, a Southern black man who moves to New York in the 1920s and suffers because of his race, feels too loaded (is that right word?) for me to judge it.

Ellison fills the book with competing symbols and metaphors (black vs. white, light vs. dark, blindness vs. sight) and some of the scenes are just hard to read because they're so heart-breaking (especially those in the first chapter or two). As the book went on, it began to feel like a horrible nightmare. The narrator (who was unnamed- we referred to him in class as "the invisible man") lets his thoughts run wild and Ellison's long, rambling sentences full of repetition and alliteration carry you hazily along. Sometimes it gets confusing too, so it helped that I was in a class while reading this and got to hear the book analyzed a bit.

Did I enjoy reading it? Mostly. 

Would I read it again? No. 

Is Ellison a good writer? Yes. 

Does the book deserve such a prominent place in the history of literature? Definitely.

TITLE: Invisible Man
AUTHOR: Ralph Ellison
VERDICT: 3/5 stars.


  1. I really loved this book. I, too, read it for class. But it was assigned over the summer so I loved it long before we got around to discussing it. I think this is a book that is best thought of and dealt with as a whole. It's one of those books that I say you "experience" rather than read.

    1. That's a good way to put it! "Experience" rather than read. And since I didn't just read it, it felt wrong to review it like the books I've read.


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