Invisible Man

“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (U.S.)

One of Nicola’s 100 best books for inspiration in the 21st century!


This book left no reader indifferent, with some loving it and others not. Most readers found the first few chapters very powerful and vivid, such as the scenes of the terrifying battle royal and the chaotic Golden Day. They found the narrator’s journey at times confusing, especially the scene in the paint factory’s hospital, though they enjoyed the expectation of discovering how he would extricate himself from the different situations he finds himself in. Some readers did not warm to the narrator describing him as unsympathetic and unbelievably naïve. Others were able to feel his alienation as he tries to discover his true self. Most readers liked the rich language and the cadence of the dialogues, whereas some found the writing uneven and felt it needed more editing. One reader didn’t like the story at all because of the fact that everything went wrong for the protagonist. Overall, everyone agreed that it is a book that needs to be read a few times in order to appreciate fully the depth and scope of the story. It averaged an 8.1 out of 10.


Ralph Ellison’s impassioned first novel, winner of the prestigious National Book Award, tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible ‘simply because people refuse to see me’. Published in 1952 when American society was on the cusp of immense change, the powerfully depicted adventures of Ellison’s invisible man go far beyond the story of one individual… Read more

Season 10 – “First Novels” (Sep 2009 – Jan 2010)

“The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga (India) *
“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani (Iran)
“Lost City Radio” by Daniel Alarcon (Peru)
“Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) *
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (U.S.)

Extra book:
“The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li (China) 

* The book club favourites
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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