I will start by saying that I have never read this book before or seen any films the whole way through either. Despite this, however, I still had some vague ideas of what I was expecting due to seeing film clips, hearing references and the book title itself (Invisible Man does give away the main idea).
The book starts with the arrival of a strange, nameless man in a small village inn. With his entire body, except his nose, covered in clothing or bandages he makes for great speculation amongst the locals. It doesn't take long for speculation to grow and withhis short temper, tendency to hide himself away and one or two minor mishaps it isn't long until it looks like his secret may be found out. When everything comes to a head the stranger moves on but the reports of him follow, although not necessarily believable.
What we then see happen is a story of hope and tragedy, we hear of who the strange man is and how he became invisible. The reader is shown, through this incident, of the dangers of scientific discovery gone wrong; of how one man's quest for something perceived as a gift can turn him and his achievement into a curse.
I was shocked at how short a book this was. I believed that, with all the spin offs and films that had been created because of it, there would have much more to it. Although this book only coves a short period of time (apart from the flashbacks to his becoming invisible) there was enough content within it to encourage me to read. It started almost straight away with the mystery of the nameless man at the Inn. With his strange appearance it's only natural that news of his appearance would spread. As the reader you are not given any clues as to his appearance, apart from the book's title, and as such could've been left wondering as well for a short while.
This book really picks up speed upon his sudden departure from Iping and we are suddenly given a glimpse into the downward spiral of his mind and how far he has fallen from his life previous to his being invisible.
Wells has made this an unbelievably good plot, focusing more on the human mind aspect when faced with outcomes like this rather than the actual invisibility itself. As much as you start to realise how it all must end, and it really is the only way, it still comes as a bit of a shock when the inevitable happens. Wells writes so well that there is never really any doubt as to how people would react when faced with such an impossible thing.
This a great short read for anyone really. It may not be uplifting but it does make you think and ask you to look at the human mind in a different, more open light.