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markk

markk

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The Revolution of ’28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal
Robert Chiles

Returning to a fondly remembered book

Memoirs of an Invisible Man - Harry F. Saint

Tonight after returning bloated from the potluck I attended, I decided to pick up my newly-acquired used copy of H. F. Saint's Memoirs of an Invisible Man. It's a book that I hadn't read in nearly thirty years (!) but i had retained fond memories of from when I had. It didn't take long for me to lose myself in its pages, and as I transitioned from browsing casually to reading in earnest, I found myself asking the question, "How well does it hold up today?"

To my pleasant surprise I found much of what I had liked about the novel still enjoyable. I remember being impressed with how well Saint had puzzled out the complications of someone suddenly discovering that he was invisible, and that element was still every bit as entertaining as it was even after a reread. The challenge facing the narrator from a team led by a supremely competent federal agent was also there and still every bit as gripping, even knowing what the outcome would be. What surprised me, though, was the build-up; I had forgotten that Saint spends nearly a quarter of the book building up to the event that turns his narrator invisible, and the middle of the book is taken up with the initial weeks of him simply working out how to survive.

 

And then I hit the sex scenes. And no. no, no.

 

I remembered that coping with loneliness was one of the central attributes of Saint's narrative, and thus was generally well done. But there are two scenes (I'll leave out the details) where the narrator commits what amounts to sexual assault. I had completely forgotten this part, and rereading the passages was more than a little shocking. It's hard for me to imagine a book like Saint's becoming so popular today with such passages, no matter how well-written it might be.