First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book!
‘I am an invisible man.”
As far as first lines go, these are pretty famous. Can you guess the novel?
Honestly, the title is pretty self-explanatory.
Okay, okay! Stick with me. Here’s your first hint: Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks and won the National Book Award for fiction.
The novel this comes from is The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
If you’ve never read or heard of this one, you should put it on your list for black history month. It’s a heartbreaking read, but it’s totally worth it for the way it makes you think.
Summary (from Amazon): The book’s nameless narrator describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood”, before retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.
Buy Invisible Man