2008: 110. The Invisible Man

“The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.”*

The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells


So, The Invisible Man is one of those classics that I had never read before, and decided to pick up when I drifted over to the “W”’s in my commuting book game.  Like Treasure Island, I think that this is a book that Jon had actually bought, not me, especially since our copy is a Dover Thrift edition,** and I doubt that this is a novel I would have sought out had I not been playing my little alphabet game.  I’m not that fond of science fiction generally, and I find that the classics of the genre - the Frankensteins and Draculas, don’t excite me much.  In the same vein, I enjoyed reading The Invisible Man as a historical piece - in a “aha, this is the novel of which so many parts of our pop culture have played off”, but didn’t really actually enjoy the actual story that much.  The bones are pretty exciting - man accidently turns himself invisible and goes mad as a result (or was he a crazy mad scientist to begin with), and I did like the parts where he explains how being invisible, which he thought would be such a great thing turned out to be a terrible nightmare (freezing because he can’t wear clothes, etc.), but overall, I found the reading more of a slog than something to enjoy.  Not going to rush out and get more Wells, is what I’m saying...


*How do you like all those subordinate clauses?? Nice writing, Wells.


** And can we talk for a minute about Dover Thrift editions? In case you don’t know what they are are, Dover releases books that are in the public domain in super cheap ($1-3) dollar editions.  And they are super, super cheap - cheap paper, small print, flimsy covers, etc.  And the idea behind them isn’t bad - I mean, why not buy a $2.00 version of The Invisible Man? Plus, because the print is so small, they are always pretty thin, which, if I am completely honest, has encouraged me to pick up things we own in Dover Thrift when I am playing my commuting book game, because it makes me think I’ll power through the book quickly and they won’t make my bag that heavy (see e.g. The Sorrows of Young Werther).  BUT, that having been said, can I just admit right now that I hate, hate reading Dover Thrift editions? Call me a book snob, but something about reading these cheap books makes me take the story less seriously - as if it was as disposable as the physical book itself.  I tend to tear through - almost skim - the books, because they seem so flimsy.  So, maybe that was my problem with The Invisible Man - maybe if I’d read it in a more substantial form I’d have liked it more??


Date/Place Completed:  7/8/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017