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Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Invisible Man
Average rating
5 / 5
Invisibility in plain sight
February 20th, 2013
As an outsider to the African-American experience, this book challenged my understanding of racial identity. Ellison writes communicatively, with a narrative that invites the reader to imagine a society in which stereotype overshadows individuality and self-determination; a world which, though removed by time and social change, is recognizable. A true poet of the American experience, this book holds its own compared to Hemingway, Emerson or Kerouac. Don't take my word for it. Read it.
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