The Invisible Man

Front Cover
Penguin Books, Limited, 1999 - African American men - 468 pages
2419 Reviews
The 'invisible man' is the unnamed narrator of Ralph Ellison's blistering, impassioned novel of black lives in 1940s America. Defeated and embittered by a country which treats him as a non-being, he has retreated into an underground cell, where he smokes, drinks, listens to jazz and recounts his search for identity in white society; as an optimistic student in the Deep South, in the north with the black activist group the Brotherhood, and in the Harlem race riots. Powerfully told, angry and often violent, Invisible Man goes beyond the compelling story of one man to evoke the lives of millions of African-Americans with an urgency that has potent relevance today.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Great writing, characters, and storytelling. - Goodreads
Hard to read, but good to know about. - Goodreads
Masterful! Educational! - Goodreads
The prose was a little wordy for my preferences - Goodreads
Amazing ambiguities, character development is pristine. - weRead
It is a good book but not an easy to read one. - Goodreads

Review: Invisible Man

User Review  - Tom - Goodreads

Great, great book. Powerful story of a black man's journeys through the South and North in the 1930s. I loved the characters he encountered, the stories they told and the struggle to claim his identity. And what a terrific writing ability he has. Read full review

Review: Invisible Man

User Review  - Alex Stinson - Goodreads

Interesting novel in the whole, in the Vein of a number of modernist works by authors like Hermann Hesse and James Joyce. However, the execution of surrealism doesn't quite meet the quality of those works. Read full review

All 218 reviews »

Related books

About the author (1999)

Ralph Ellison has the distinction of being one of the few writers who has established a firm literary reputation on the strength of a single work of long fiction. Writer and teacher, Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma City, studied at Tuskegee Institute, and has lectured at New York, Columbia, and Fisk universities and at Bard College. He received the Prix de Rome from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1955, and in 1964 he was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He has contributed short stories and essays to various publications. Invisible Man (1952), his first novel, won the National Book Award for 1952 and is considered an impressive work. It is a vision of the underground man who is also the invisible African American, and its possessor has employed this subterranean view and viewer to so extraordinary an advantage that the impression of the novel is that of a pioneer work. A book of essays, Shadow and Act, which discusses the African American in America and Ellison's Oklahoma boyhood, among other topics, appeared in 1964.

Bibliographic information