Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
First published in 1952, Invisible Man revealed the pain of a black man's existence in a white world. It was shocking then, but remains important literature today. It is the story of a young man's journey--through the Deep South to the streets of Harlem, through events and experiences that range from tortured to macabre. As he moves through time, he learns about the black world, the white world, and a world of his own. His passage is a frightening but at the same time enlightening pilgrimage, for the Invisible Man and for all of us.