Invisible Man

Invisible Man

Book - 1952
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Random House, Inc.
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.
The questions, topics, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading and discussion of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man . We hope that they will provide you with new ways of looking at--and talking about--a book that is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest American novels of the second half of this century.

Baker & Taylor
A Black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility

Baker
& Taylor

An African-American man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility. Reissue. 30,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, [1952]
ISBN: 9780679732761
0679732764
Characteristics: 439 p. ; 22 cm

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xiaojunbpl12
May 08, 2017

The plot construction is (post) modern, his approach of blackness leads to a universal reality, akin to every race.
The narrative style, Ellison's flamboyant passages, maybe a thing of past (in contrast with short and fragmented sentences filling our modern time), is still a timeless classic, to reveal inner and outer landscapes, powerful.

"I'm invisible, and not blind." - me too, and wish everyone read this book, then how many can be awaken from hibernation, feeling ashamed?

triptophan Feb 11, 2017

I didn't even finish Invisible Man, because the main character didn't even have a name and he put up with a lot of things that he didn't have to. Very frustrating! Don't even bother reading this.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

Invisible Man is the author's only complete novel, which is unfortunate, because it is such a spectacular story. This is one I'd like to return to someday.

r
Reclak
Nov 21, 2015

Ralph Ellison does an excellent job of identifying the societal blinders that influence the perception of not just the African American, but in particular, the specific individual, in this great classic. Perhaps that is what makes this book the celebrated masterwork that it is. Because he crafts varied situations that illustrate the impact of preconceptions and the way they alter true discernment. Ellison does not spare the protagonist his own moments of 'blindness', leading the reader to surmise once the book is read, that the title alludes to the way "man" in its totality remains somehow cloaked to its peers; misread, misinterpreted to its own folly and detriment.

Mr. Ellison certainly wrote this book informed by his experience as an African American and maybe because of this perspective, rather despite it, the document is a universal statement about the reality of the way humans mis-see or fail to connect with one another.

Why did I wait so long to read this excellent book?

v
voisjoe1_0
Oct 08, 2015

Watch any Hollywood movie released in the 1940’s and 1950’s and you will realize what Ralph Ellison means by Invisible Man. African-Americans are either totally absent in all white Hollywood films or in them only briefly to carry luggage at train depots or to invisibly serve coffee to their masters in their mansions. And in real society, African-Americans were segregated in ghettos so that White people would not have to see them or to even think about them. In the South it was called slavery, segregation, lynching (de jure) and in the north it was called ghettoization or death by police or mobs (de facto). Ellison explores both North and South in this often surrealistic hell to which African-Americans were subjected on an hourly basis (and often even today in the 21st century). This has to be in the top 5 of all African-American novels written before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

janellejordan Jul 12, 2015

A look at race from both northern and southern perspectives.

e
elle_em
Aug 05, 2013

I have read this book several times and I always take away something new from it.

b
Bruce556
Oct 28, 2011

Saying this is a great book does not do it justice.

g
GrumpyDave
Dec 06, 2010

1953 National Book Award - Fiction

Wolvie Aug 17, 2009

A classic of African American literature.
The writing is so beautiful and raw I could barely stand it.

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?

m
Mhailu98
Feb 14, 2015

“To Whom It May Concern . . . Keep This Nigger-Boy Running"

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Mhailu98
Feb 14, 2015

Mhailu98 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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santiano9
Aug 07, 2011

- Just not in the mood for a southern bigotry novel and the damage done to people. Didn’t read much of it.

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