Memoirs of an Invisible Man

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

At age thirty-four, Nick Halloway, the narrator, has achieved reasonable wealth and security. He enjoys a “yuppie” single life, pursuing beautiful women and making money. All this changes when, as the result of a laboratory accident, he becomes completely invisible.

Unlike the invisible man of H.G. Wells’s novel, Nick has no terrifying powers. His adventures occur because he is immediately perceived as an invaluable asset to the scientific and intelligence communities. When he understands this, he knows that if they gain custody of him, he will never again be free.

Most of the novel consists of his attempts to build a secure and free life while evading his pursuers. He learns to make use of private New York men’s clubs and vacationers’ empty apartments. He learns to avoid walking in the rain and to regulate his diet so that his food will not be visible. He works out ways of fighting back at his pursuers, especially David Jenkins, their ruthless and expert commander.

He begins to construct a new identity by sneaking into New York offices. He gets a new name and social security number, sets up an account with a broker, secretly visits board meetings, gets rich on the stock market, buys and prepares a secure residence. Meanwhile, he falls in love with Alice Barlow, who believes he is a ghost.

Having learned to trust no one, he fails to tell her his whole story, planning always to leave her. This failure nearly destroys them both.

H.F. Saint’s first novel, though sometimes tedious in detail, is a humorous and entertaining adventure, good light reading.