Ralph Ellison‘s iconic novel Invisible Man won the 1953 National Book award and informed discussions of race and identity for decades. He died in the mid 90s without publishing a second novel, but now the literary executor of his estate has pulled his notes and musings together as Three Days Before the Shooting, a massive tale with many threads.
The story of how this came to be is an unlikely one: In 1977 a young professor at Lewis and Clark College sent an essay about Ellison to the author he’d long admired. They became friends, and later John Callahan was charged with bringing Ellison’s decades of unpublished work to light. One section, titled Juneteeth, was published ten years ago, but that’s just part of the novel out now.
Did you read Invisible Man? How did it impact your perceptions of race and identity? And what did you imagine as a follow-up?
UPDATE, 01/29/10 2:02 PM: