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Invisible Man (1952)

by Ralph Ellison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,788173315 (3.99)636
In the course of his wanderings from a Southern Negro college to New York's Harlem, an American black man becomes involved in a series of adventures. Introduction explains circumstances under which the book was written. Ellison won the National Book Award for this searing record of a black man's journey through contemporary America. Unquestionably, Ellison's book is a work of extraordinary intensity--powerfully imagined and written with a savage, wryly humorous gusto.… (more)
  1. 30
    The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois (GabrielF)
  2. 00
    Black and Conservative by George Samuel Schuyler (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This very cynical novel takes place during the same time period as "The Invisible Man" and provides additional perspectives on race during the post WWII years.
  3. 00
    Quicksand by Nella Larsen (aspirit)
  4. 00
    Native Son by Richard Wright (Cecrow)
  5. 22
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  6. 00
    Small Island by Andrea Levy (tcarter)
  7. 00
    This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (aspirit)
    aspirit: Describes the life a modern African woman to contrast with that of the historical African-American man. Similar tone.
  8. 02
    Big Machine by Victor LaValle (goddesspt2)
  9. 05
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (kara.shamy)
1940s (28)
1950s (37)
My TBR (83)
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» See also 636 mentions

English (168)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (172)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
Someone I deeply respect recommended this book in light of everything that's happening in the world, or I should say that's still happening in the world - and we're in 2021. This book is powerful, not easy to read in parts, but I feel it has expanded my mind. ( )
  Acia | Jul 8, 2021 |
I have nothing good to say about this book. I didn't like a single part of it. I don't have a single stirring quote from it to share. It started and ended disturbingly; and in between featured copious amounts of speechifying and boredom. ( )
  Tytania | Jun 21, 2021 |
DKF. Black American book written in the 1950’s. A classic chosen by the NYT for their book club. I will watch and listen to the discussion, but it’s unlikely that I will read it thru. Lots of figure of speech and I don’t quite get what the first person speaker is saying. Plus knowing that the man felt invisible to the whites around him, he seems to bemoan the pint again and again. Maybe I’ll write more after the discussion.
  bereanna | Jun 13, 2021 |
"keep this nigger boy running"
  ritaer | Jun 6, 2021 |
Every American needs to read this book. It blows my mind that high schools do not require it! ( )
  dianahaemer | Apr 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
"Invisible Man" is tough, brutal and sensational. It is uneven in quality. But it blazes with authentic talent.
 

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ralph Ellisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Callahan, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, RalphIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyert, GeorgÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, Peter FrancisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, JoeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"You are saved," cried Captain Delano, more and more astonished and pained; "you are saved: what has cast such a shadow upon you?"

--Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
HARRY: I tell you, it is not me you are looking at,

Not me you arre grinning at, not me your confidential looks

Incriminate, but that other person, if person,

You thought I was: let your necrophily

Feed upon that carcase. . . .

--T. S. Eliot, Family Reunion
Dedication
To Ida
First words
"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

In the course of his wanderings from a Southern Negro college to New York's Harlem, an American black man becomes involved in a series of adventures. Introduction explains circumstances under which the book was written. Ellison won the National Book Award for this searing record of a black man's journey through contemporary America. Unquestionably, Ellison's book is a work of extraordinary intensity--powerfully imagined and written with a savage, wryly humorous gusto.

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Legacy Library: Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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