Posts tagged The Invisible Man
Posts tagged The Invisible Man
Tuesday marked the arrival of the paperback version of Chuck Klosterman’s second novel The Visible Man. I long ago finished the hard cover version. Big fans like myself could never have waited this long to read Klosterman’s newest work. In fact, I actually WENT INTO A BOOKSTORE (which sadly but not surprisingly no longer exists) the day it came out to ensure I got a copy hot off the presses.
In an amazing coincidence (if there is such a thing as a coincidence) I had just (accidentally) read The Invisible Man and was well primed to read about a therapist who is approached by a man looking to deal with issues surrounding the fact he has the ability to be invisible. Their sessions start over the phone, continue in person (though invisible person) and things take twisted, mind-bending turns from there through the finale.
Chuck Klosterman, first and foremost an essayist, has always had an incredible knack for thinking about common things in an uncommon way. Or thinking about them SO much, SO hard that the original image or idea changes from over-exposure to his brain. That is the best part of his essays and magazine articles - and this novel. But this time he takes it too far for my taste. I loved traveling with him on The Visible Man journey, but I wasn’t thrilled with the destination.
If you aren’t familiar with Klosterman’s work, Shame On You! When you get out of your corner of disgrace please pick up Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs (if you’re currently between 28-40). If you’re into metal rock your first book from his collection should be Fargo Rock City. Everyone else should try Killing Yourself to Live. And anyone, everyone, should crack the spine of Downtown Owl, his lovely, light, atmospheric first novel. Now that you’ve got your summer reading list I suggest you get to it!
For the past few years I’ve set a personal goal to read 12 books annually. For some reason I started doing this in August so I’m two months away from my ‘reading year’ ending, and I’m pleased to report I’ve already reached my goal!
This is in part thanks to Jeremy who got me a Kindle for Christmas. Instead of lugging around heavy tomes (I’m talking about you Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) the lightweight reader is a convenient way to carry a whole library with me so I’m never without reading material. Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free ebooks, has made thousands of books, out of copyright, available online at no cost. Immediately upon charging up my Kindle I downloaded a few classics I hadn’t read in school.
The Invisible Man caught my eye as one to download, and I finished it yesterday. My review is simple - The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells is NOT the same book as Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. That little word “the” makes a big difference. I was expecting a thoughtful commentary on race relations in the 1950’s but instead read about the threat of science to society in the 1890’s. Oops!
Wells’ book is still a classic and I’m glad I read it. Our current world is so ingrained with science and technology that its presence isn’t as shocking as it was in 1897. The reaction of commoners in the book - generally a denial and disbelief of progress through science - is familiar in the quick changing landscape we live in today. Everyone has a friend or family member who has resisted getting a computer, iPod, Smartphone or other piece of technology because sometimes it is easier to turn the other way than except the inevitable, which will change everything. The ultimate lesson of the book which still resonates today is that you may not be able to see an invisible man, but you can’t ignore the effect he has.