In the novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison writes the story of a young black man living in the south who, with one mistake, begins to see how the rest of the world sees–or does not see–him. The novel takes him out of his home town and into the wilds of New York City where he mingles with the Communist party for a while before taking on full invisibility.
What I loved about this novel is it is the definition of a classic: It has stood the test of time and is still very relevant today, maybe more relevant than most people know. Much of what Ellison touches on in the Invisible Man has been a topic of conversation over the past year, which, to me, is a big reason why I would recommend this book. It puts a lot of issues about humanity into perspective and really makes the reader think about society and life in general.
The first line is what caught my attention the most, but then it took several pages before I was able to immerse myself. Invisible Man is another one of those novels, like Catch-22, that I have to be fully awake for or else I’ll fall asleep while reading. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book or that it was boring, but when a story isn’t very lighthearted or easy going, when it has a lot to tell sometimes it can be a lot for one to handle if they are not fully awake. This is definitely one of those novels that needs the full attention to understand and appreciate. When the narrator begins really telling of his experiences is where I became hooked and I think the issues discussed in the book are articulated well.
Invisible Man is a book I think should be required for everyone to read and discuss. I think it will help address barriers that still exist and will help shed light on how we all treat each other as human beings.