I've listened to more than 100 novels in the past 5 years... I'm hooked!
I read this classic as an undergrad ( more than 30 years ago) I have only fond memories of the printed version, however, listening to it again after so many years is very enjoyable.
One needn't try to make comparisons to the classic genius of Ralph Ellison. If you like this genre, this is well worth your purchase.
This performance was riveting...Lot's of emotion. I was well entertained.
This is a fantastic story that tells of one tragic plot to the next: each period beginning with a hopeful optimism that is later snuffed out by reality, self-awareness, and pessimism or pragmatism. I gave this book 4 stars because I didn't like the ending: there's never a true victory. There's peace in being, but there is no catharsis. But maybe that's life...
I've never been a fan of "classic" literature. (Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's good) I probably never would have picked this up if it wasn't for Audible giving it to us as a free gift. But am I ever glad they did. The improbable twists in a young black man's life that lead him to think of himself as invisible will have you hooked. From the beginning, I found myself lost in the world of the unnamed narrator. His life, a life of trying to do the right thing only to be punished time and again, was fascinating to listen to.
Joe Morton brings such life and character to the story that you'll swear it was written specifically for him to perform. Each character has their own voice, and you never get confused as to who's talking. I found myself many times wanting to get a print version of the book because I kept thinking, "There is no way the author wrote that in such a way that he was able to get that kind of life out of it."
If you're an Audible member and you still have time to pick this one up as a free gift, do it. If not, use a credit. It is well worth it.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
This classic novel stirred my soul like the rhythmic boom-boom-boom of a marching band looming at the tail of a blooming float.
While he meticulously plotted INVISIBLE MAN, Ralph Ellison successfully styled this classic in many ways as a virtuoso in jazz improvisation, conjuring fertile imagery in lush and metrical prose. The book centers on an unnamed narrator, the Invisible Man, as he is expelled from an African-American university in the American South, goes to New York City and is recruited by the lily-white Communist "brotherhood."
While reading, it may seem the book is primarily a story about African Americans and beefs with the American Marxists, but I found it to be more of a clarion call to the educated disillusioned and disenfranchised, young and old ("Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"), to follow their own drum and walk away from the flock ("there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers").
The book's essence is captured, I think, by a couple of passages:
"What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
I was pulled this way and that for longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man."
INVISIBLE MAN, which won the 1953 National Book Award, is a provocative and tense classic, just as relevant in 2016 as it was 63 years ago.
I'm an audiobook narrator and I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Happy to share my thoughts on books I've enjoyed.
Joe Morton gives a brilliant performance. One of the best narrations I have ever had the pleasure to experience and I have listened to a lot of audiobooks.
Perhaps some elements of The Warmth of Other Suns insofar as the descriptions of life in the south and Harlem in the early to mid 20th century.
From a technical point of view, I was completely taken with Joe's work. He put so much life into his characters that I am driven to compare the text to the narration to see if what he does with the work was written into the text or just the magic that he brought to this book.
The story is very engaging. I can't recommend this audiobook enough.
The story of an activist black man who was metaphorically invisible by virtue of his color. Although published in 1952 this book might have been written today with the Socialist Party perhaps, thought not quite so forcefully, being a stand in for the Communist party of the late 30's, early 40's. The narration is what really gave force to this novel.
I'm not done with this book yet. I'm not even half way through, but I just have to stop to say Joe Morton is enthralling in this role. He's a one man theater group performing the roles of each character, imprinting each one in my head, with full dimensions, and subtleties. He impels the listener with a rolling smoldering intensity from the beginning, to follow the protagonist's journey, to be transformed, to realizet he is invisible, and what that is, in explicit, complex, glaring terms.
The opening chapter was brilliant, original, and engaging; very reminiscent of Dostoyevsky's _Notes from Underground_ but significantly new at the same time. The novel as a whole maintains a tacit Dostoyevskian tendency to constantly consider ambiguities of action and interpretation that seem honest throughout--you can really believe in this character. And yet the actual narrative is clear, not muddy like Henry James or other authors who might fit this same description.
The opening chapter; the book begins in media res, and you wonder throughout how we're ever going to get back to the beginning, which is fascinating in itself.
Overly dramatic, widely varying volume, impressive range of character voices
No; I couldn't stomach it for more than an hour at a time.
Joe Morton has a truly impressive and useful range of character voices throughout, but he puts way too much dramatic emphasis on every paragraph of the whole novel, and it's just frustrating. Whereas on a scale from Robot (0) to Melodrama (10) I like my books to be about a 5, 6 or 7, he's a consistent 8. (For comparison, I'd put Jim Dale at a 6.) It makes the whole book sound like it's full of caps, italics, and ellipses, and it's just way too overstimulating. I can handle listening to the whole book, but only in 20-60 min. snippets at a time.
Well written but very disheartening. People treated the main character terribly. It was shameful and I just didn't want to wallow in it. It was a roller coaster so I put it down.