(Buy it HERE.)
Few canon classics really stand up to the test of time. It’s nice when I come across something that does and H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man was a nice surprise. ⠀
If you live in an English-speaking part of Earth, you already know what to expect here. There is a man. He is invisible. Shenanigans ensue. The story has been told so many times, so many ways that it’s hard to imagine any surprises in the original 1897 serial novel. But there were a few! I was not expecting Griffin, our titular un-seeable dude, to start as a grouchy (yet amusing) invisible jerk and slowly reveal himself to be an absolute villain. The story starts as an odd bit of early science fiction full of jokes at the expense of English country people and ends as a thrilling criminal chase story with thoughtful moral overtones. The action is great and at the height of his character arc, Griffin is quite scary. One particular scene in a Victorian department store really had me on the edge of my seat. I don’t remember seeing it in any of the film adaptations of this story but it seems tailor-made for action choreography.
The book is, however, a product of its time and there is some dated(and in one notable case, potentially offensive) language that mars it. I don’t think it’s fair to hold a book written in 1897 up to 2020 sensitivity standards, and every book has slang and cultural references that will eventually be forgotten. I wasn’t put off by this so much as annoyed at having a pretty good story occasionally interrupted with colonizer nonsense and forgotten fads. It’s not overwhelming, but since the second act of the story is already a little slow, the language kept this from being a perfect read.⠀
I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. 4 stars and a gramophone recording of “Man In The Mirror” to The Invisible Man. 🕴🏻⠀