Tracy Reilly's Reviews > Invisible Man

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
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Mar 15, 2012

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Reading Progress

04/22/2012 page 309
53.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/22/2012 page 326
56.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/22/2012 page 356
61.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/22/2012 page 365
63.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/24/2012 page 398
69.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/25/2012 page 403
69.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/26/2012 page 409
70.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/27/2012 page 419
72.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/29/2012 page 464
80.0% "Some of this is too long to me.Takes too long to say what could be simpler."
04/29/2012 page 581
100.0% "Finished"
04/29/2012 page 581
100.0% "Gold star for me! Finished."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Tracy Reilly This book was an ordeal for me through the middle and almost made my list of books I never finished. Don't know where I got the idea it was full of Jazz music: it wasn't--a few lyrics to old spirituals and the sense that the writer is a musician due some of his imagery. This is where Ellison excels:description, such as the scenes of Clinton's funeral parade; I particularly remember images of nurses shining in white in the sunlight, and half-shaved men coming out of the barbershops to pay tribute.

Things picked up in the last 150 pages--most of which described the riot in Harlem in the aftermath of a character's senseless death by a policeman. There are terse and insightful lines in the book, particularly in the last chapter as the author tries rather obsessively to make the theme and purpose of his book known:

I am invisible, not blind.

"[various members of the Brotherhood were] tired of being mere pawns in the futile game of making history"

"I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be truth. No one was satisfied--not even I."

I get the sense that Ellison has made an attempt to be more truthful than most about race and identity in this book, but that truth is so complicated it becomes difficult to read and articulate--particularly when dealing with racial politics. It's easy to see why it's an important book. Fun to read, no way.

Mostly I am taking away a determination to police my own writing and avoid the obsessive need for clarity and elaboration (a tendency I can have) that Ellison has.


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