There are some semi-spoilers in this review. However none of them can describe the experience of actually reading this book and the language used and mainly refer to generally commonly known elements of this book.
This is perhaps my favourite of H.G.Wells' books that I have read. This in itself is interesting as it has slipped into a sort of obscurity when compared to the fame of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. However what I love about this book is its greater grounding in human affairs and ideas. Personally I feel it is one of H.G.Wells' more profound books in that it touches on human identity.
The premise is fairly well known and in today's era of pseudo-science and knowledge may seem somewhat old fashioned and certainly unscientific. It follows one man who covers himself in bandages and escapes to an isolated town to perform experiments only for the townspeople to find out that he is completely invisible. This however forms the groundwork for an intriguing premise which brings several curious ideas to the foreground.
Firstly and most prevalently is the idea of the link between human identity and the human body. As the invisible man cannot percieve himself he slowly drifts into a sort of madness, an insanity triggered by the fact that as he no longer is visible he no longer recognises himself as human. Thus like with Gregor Samsa in Kafka's The Metamorphosis the whole idea of self-invalidation is explored.
Secondly there's the idea of how others perceive the individual. In this novel many people shun or are afraid of the titular invisible man. He represents a character who, because he cannot be seen, they cannot trust. And in many ways he is the perfect example of an alien character, a being who represents many common human fears about the other. As a result the invisible man is the source of prejudice and other characters respond to him out of hatred and fear. In this way the novel questions the common way in which human bigotry is channelled onto others, turning them into the abject.
On top of all of this this is an interesting novel that's great to read. I loved the fact when I read it that it was different in how it focused around a more villainous character and also how the novel built up suspense. I further like the fact that while this is a science fiction novel it reads a lot like a mystery or crime novel and was a departure from the style adopted in other H.G.Wells' novels.
Wells is an incredible writer. The way he uses words is astonishing and although there are apparent flaws in this work at times it is still very much worth the read. I fully recommend it as a significant part of the science fiction genre.