Finished Reading The Invisible Man

English: Illustration of wavefronts in the con...

English: Illustration of wavefronts in the context of Snell’s law. Sort of got to do with refraction? I don’t know, it moves, so I put it here anyway 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I wrote a very short post on The Invisible Man a while back, when I’d just started reading it. I’ve finished, and it’s about time I gave a proper review on it, without throwing out any spoilers.

I liked the book, and liked the concept as a whole. The way the process of being made invisible was described really impressed me: something normally thought of as being in the realm of fantasy was presented in a logical, scientific way. Apparently,  the refractive index of human cells is reduced to be almost that of air. Objects with similar refractive indexes (the index tells you how much light is refracted by the object) blur together: think a cube of glass in water; it is nearly invisible as the refractive indexes of each object are very close. So anyway,  the (not yet) invisible man discovers a way of changing the index of his cells to that of air. Even though it would be impossible to do this without destroying the original functions of the cells, it is believable in the context of the book.

However, for me, the way the book was written and the subject matter clashed slightly for me. The prose is old fashioned; a flowing narrative where you’d expect dances, horse rides and general jolly fun, while the subject matter is quite dark and sinister. I think Aldous Huxely’s style  might have suited the story line somewhat better: the clinical feel she gave A Brave New World could have really brought out the terror of having a demented invisible murderer running loose around the countryside.

Anyway, as you have guessed by that above paragraph, the invisible man indeed goes a little man, and you can sort of understand his frustration (he can’t make himself visible again) however you don’t get a full insight into how he feels as it is written in a somewhat distant feeling third person. The overall result is slightly more comical than scary: the antics of the somewhat sheltered village people when they realize there is a mad man running rings around them and they cannot see him are similar to the silent films of Harold Lloyd. I’m not sure whether this was intended, but it did take away from the whole “OH MY GOD!” fear you think you will experience when you read the front cover, which announces, “Imagine a killer you could not detect, until it was too late?”. I would still encourage people to read it, it just wasn’t one of my favorites. As you can probably tell from the length of this post: if I enjoy a book, I go on for paragraphs about it!

Maeve (@maevelizzy)


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