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H.G. Wells – The Invisible Man

Title: The Invisible Man
Author: H.G. Wells
Year: 1897

Wouldn’t it be great to be invisible? After long scientific endeavour, a young medical student named Griffin discovers a way of turning himself invisible, and in the beginning, he’s awestruck both by the feeling of being invisible and by the thought of all the things an invisible man can do, especially one who lacks a moral compass. However, his newly found ability soon turns into a curse he tries to rid himself of, but to no avail. His temper grows bitter and angry, further deepening the madness, projecting it on the outside world.

The story isn’t told by the Invisible Man himself, but from many other points of view. The effect in the beginning is somewhat spoiled, because since the reader knows the title of the novel, it’s pretty obvious that the mysterious stranger is indeed the Invisible Man. However, the story from that point onwards doesn’t suffer from being closed in or predictable, mostly because of the fact that the main character (the Invisible Man, that is) is such an unsympathetic fellow. If he would have been a normal man with normal desires and temperament, the book would have been utterly boring, but indeed he isn’t. Instead, he’s a malignant and irascible man who demands much from the world without being prepared to give much in return. In my view, this personality is part of what makes this novel good.

I’ve always liked Wells’ way of telling stories, although sometimes I feel that the stories themselves aren’t that great (see The Time Machine). In this case, however, I feel that more things than usual work out, which merits a higher grade. The shortness and focused character of the novel also speaks to its advantage. To The Invisible Man‘s disadvantage, I must say that it was written more than a hundred years ago and that since the concept isn’t new or amazing to me, it loses some of its magic. The sense of wonder along with a nice main character is still enough to reach four snails, though. This book was far better than I thought it would be.

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  1. Xhakhal’s avatar

    Did you read it or listen to it? I think I would like to try listen to it if you have it on audio, see.

    And I misread -every time- you talked about this book on IRC, I thought it was “The Inside Man” and was looking forward to a review of a book I had never heard of XD

    Reply