Invisible Man

Front Cover
Penguin, Oct 1, 1999 - African American men - 468 pages
1860 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
853
4 stars
472
3 stars
283
2 stars
159
1 star
93

Great writing, characters, and storytelling. - Goodreads
This was difficult to read. - Goodreads
Masterful! Educational! - Goodreads
The prose was a little wordy for my preferences - Goodreads
Brilliant opening, genius ending... - Goodreads
Absolutely brilliant, excellent visual imagery. - Goodreads

Review: Invisible Man

User Review  - Rachel - Goodreads

Perfection. This is an overlooked masterpiece! Read full review

Review: Invisible Man

User Review  - Brittney Bringuez - Goodreads

Ralph Ellison constructs this novel of an Invisible Man on a quest to traverse the racial divide of the 1930s and 1940s, from perspectives of victims to those of privilege, beginning in the South and ... Read full review

All 111 reviews »

About the author (1999)

Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1914 - April 16, 1994) 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 1953 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. Ralph Ellison died on April 16, 1994 of pancreatic cancer and was interred in a crypt at Trinity Church Cemetery in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.

Bibliographic information