Book Reviews of Invisible Man

Invisible Man
Invisible Man
Author: Ralph Ellison
ISBN-13: 9780679732761
ISBN-10: 0679732764
Publication Date: 3/14/1995
Pages: 608
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 302

3.6 stars, based on 302 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

19 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Invisible Man on + 105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I read this novel for a college class and I am so glad I did. The book is a must read and it is a true classic. Once you see beyond the surface of the writer's words to the deeper meanings you experience the complexities and genius of Ralph Ellison.
Not a fast read if you truely want to experience a great piece of literature.
reviewed Invisible Man on
Helpful Score: 1
A classic in every sense of the word. Very insightful as to the inner thoughts of a black man as he struggles with his thoughts about race and equality. It is important that the reader looks beyond the written word for the "hidden meanings" within.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What an amazing book... it has stuck with me since reading it well over a year ago. If you critically think into the novel and consider all of the things going on and meanings you can truly see how great and classic Ellison's Invisible Man is. Very powerful.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
"...one of the greatest jokes in the world is the spectacle of the whites busy escaping blackness and becoming blacker every day, and the blacks striving toward whiteness, becoming quite dull and gray."

Ellison is certainly a skilled writer and his prose impressive (his dialogue, not so much). The story is expertly layered with imagery, metaphors, and foreshadowing. I appreciate some of his more blatant imagery (such as the kneeling slave statue or his infamous paint mixing scene). I am glad to have read such an African American classic, such an acclaimed social commentary... but it will be the last.

I have found this book to be more tedius than entertaining; more garrulous than insightful. There are many gaping holes in the storyline which I understand were left to mystery purposefully by the author, but instead of intriguing the plot, it was confusing this reader. Perhaps Ellison's language is too subtle for me to grasp or too sophisticated for my palate. For a subject as powerful and personal as racism, it fell short of the claims made on it.

A fellow goodreads user (Nathaniel Calhoun) said it best in his review:

'This is strongly reminiscent of German Expressionist drama from the early 20th century. It suffers from an inability to actually characterize anyone beyond the protagonist. Every other character is crushed by the need to represent a whole class or demographic. All of the other figures are episodes in his life, his personal development, his realization of society's deep-seated decay and his inexorable (and predictable) movement towards disillusionment. Which is to say that it is a heavy-handed, young, stereotype filled book.

Yes, it is a worthy historical object. Yes, it is an interesting foil to other pieces of American literature (which does not have too many books of this variety); but I don't think it deserves great praise if it is judged on its own merits. The prose is nothing special, the dialect isn't handled with particular grace, it has an irritating tendency to state the obvious and to self-interpret and the author actually takes the time to call attention to the fact that he is choosing to rant at you for the last five pages--a total admission of weakness.

I am, however, giving it two stars in the "it was okay" sort of fashion. I'm not upset that I read it. I just won't read it again, teach it or reccommend it to anyone.'
reviewed Invisible Man on + 949 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Meticulously crafted tale of a young black man's journey to self-awareness in 1930s America; at times seems to be a cross between Kafka's "Metamorphosis" and Homer's "Odyssey".
reviewed Invisible Man on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell truths about the nature of bigotry in the U.S.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 3352 more book reviews
Let's remember this is a classic - set aside your modern tastes and just enjoy this really great book - go with the flow - read as the stunning fiction and talented writing it is.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 6 more book reviews
Though I found this book a bit repetitive, I also found it to be a thought provoking commentary on racial inequality. Overall a good read, if you can get past the prologue.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 15 more book reviews
Invisible Man is certainly a book about race in America, and sadly enough, few of the problems it chronicles have disappeared even now. But Ellison's first novel transcends such a narrow definition. It's also a book about the human race stumbling down the path to identity, challenged and successful to varying degrees. None of us can ever be sure of the truth beyond ourselves, and possibly not even there. The world is a tricky place, and no one knows this better than the invisible man, who leaves us with these chilling, provocative words: "And it is this which frightens me: Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?" --Melanie Rehak
(amazon.com)
reviewed Invisible Man on + 3 more book reviews
Enjoyed it to bits. :) It's not a classic for no good reason.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 23 more book reviews
How would I like to live in this world as if I were invisible? This is the story, written in the early 50's, of what it was like to be black in a country where black people were invisible.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 5 more book reviews
I had to read it for school, and I couldn't even make it all the way through.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 4 more book reviews
Intense!
reviewed Invisible Man on + 2 more book reviews
Definitely an interesting piece of literature, however, getting a feel for the tone of the book was hard to do. At times it seemed as it if was a straight ahead, quasi-autobiographical account while at other times it ventured into the surreal. Still a good read, but one that you have to dedicate yourself to trying to take in fully.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 20 more book reviews
An amazing book and a very fast, but memorable read.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 224 more book reviews
First published in 1952 and immeditately hailed as a masterpiece, "Invisible Man" is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.
As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying 'battle royal' where black men are reduced to flighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers reader into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hiularious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, "Invisible Man" is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 78 more book reviews
First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.
As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying "battle royal" where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 16 more book reviews
1952 classic tracing racism and bigotry.
reviewed Invisible Man on + 80 more book reviews
excellent classic