Author: Ralph Ellison
Areas Featured: Midtown, Lower East Side, Harlem

Almost an allegory at times, Invisible Man uses some well-worn story arcs to propel the nameless protagonist on an Oz-like journey through a world that is of course ours, and yet fantastical, too. The Invisible Man journeys from the South to New York, encountering characters like tall tales, or German expressionist creations jumping out from behind corners. Ellison uses a steady hand to tell his story of what it means to be Black in America, but embraces irony in place of moralizing. At the novel's close, the Invisible Man is bunkered down in Harlem, in a basement full of light. He may be ready to emerge, to bring that light out. The reader can only hope. —GT