Ralph Ellison's first novel, "The Invisible Man," is the most impressive work of fiction by an American Negro which I have ever read. Unlike Richard Wright and Willard Motley, who achieve their best effects by overpowering their readers with documentary detail, Mr. Ellison is a finished novelist who uses words with great skill, who writes with poetic intensity and immense narrative drive. "Invisible Man" has many flaws. It is a sensational and feverishly emotional book. It will shock and sicken some of its readers. But, whatever the final verdict on "Invisible Man" may be, it does mark the appearance of a richly talented writer.
Invisible Man won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction the following year. And the belief that Ellison wrote something special hasn't diminished since. Case in point: When Modern Library created a list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century, they placed Invisible Man at number 19.
As Don Katz tells us above, the book touched him deeply during his college years at NYU. Now the founder and CEO of Audible.com, he's letting you download Invisible Man as a free audiobook. The free download is available at Audible and at Amazon until December 31st. (Audible is an Amazon subsidiary). Please note that you'll need to create an account to get the download. But apparently no payment/credit card info is required.
Separately, I should also mention that Audible offers a free 30-day trial program, where they let you download two professionally-read audiobooks. At the end of 30 days, you can decide whether to become an Audible subscriber or not. Either way, you can keep the two free audiobooks. Find more information on that free trial program here.
Again, the links to download Invisible Man are here: Audible - Amazon. And remember, we have more free audiobooks in our collection, 900 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free. Mostly classics.
If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.