Critic Orville Prescott of The New York Times called the novel "the most impressive work of fiction by an American Negro which I have ever read," and felt it marked "the appearance of a richly talented writer."  Novelist Saul Bellow in his review found it "a book of the very first order, a superb book...it is tragi-comic, poetic, the tone of the very strongest sort of creative intelligence." George Mayberry of The New Republic said Ellison "is a master at catching the shape, flavor and sound of the common vagaries of human character and experience." In The Paris Review, literary critic Harold Bloom referred to Invisible Man, along with Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, as "the only full scale works of fiction I have read by American blacks in this century that have survival possibilities at all."
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