Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Reading Challenge Book Review)

Invisible ManInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was #25 on my 2020 Reading Challenge, a book with a great first line. “I am an invisible man.”

Well, I tried.

My reading tastes tend more toward the plebian, but I also like to consider myself a well-read person. Toward that end, every so often I pick up a classic, or a story with societal import, or both. Hence, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

I see the major aggressions and the micro ones, and (I think) I understand the racist evil as well as I can while being white, but I have two problems here. (1) The narrator seems wooden to me; I don’t FEEL him. I suspect a lot of this story is metaphor, and it’s mostly lost on me. See above re plebian taste; this isn’t for me. (2) I’m not big on lengthy, flowery description. Another reviewer put it well, and I paraphrase, when they noted that Ellison describes the living daylights out of everything, and then goes back and describes the descriptions. Slog.

I’m almost two-thirds through and part of me is insisting I should just finish it, but I don’t want to fall victim to the sunk-cost fallacy. I didn’t expect this book to be exactly pleasurable, but unfortunately I’m not finding it even compelling.

When all apologies to the world of literature-with-a-capital-L, dnf-ing.

Bookshelves: literature-with-a-capital-l, everyone-loved-it-but-me, racism, couldn’t-really-read-it, classic, best-opening-sentence, social-commentary

Recommend a good classic for me on Goodreads

Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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