Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is a novel written as much for our time as for his 1950’s America. What begins as an episodic journey in the Deep South turns into a story of social movements, a brutal police killing of an unarmed black man and subsequent riots, which include a fair amount of looting and burning.

Invisible Man (Penguin Essentials) by Ralph Ellison

What brings this book to life though for us contemporary readers won’t be the parallels to our era of social unrest, but the unnamed invisible man at the heart of the story, in…