This is another of the classic HG Wells science fiction stories from the 1890s, the others being The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Time Machine, and The War of the Worlds. He would go onto much more different kinds of novels later.
We begin in a country inn where a mysterious guest has shown up with luggage full of strange bottles and books, and the guest himself is dressed from head to foot in mysterious wrappings like a mummy. Immediately the object of curiosity, it’s brought to a head when the furniture in his room is mysteriously moving around without him being there and he seems to come and go without being seen.
Turns out he’s invisible. We get some gaps filled in when we find out he’s a chemist who an through accident in the lab has turned himself invisible, and like with every super power, the ability begins as a cross to bear and quickly becomes a corrupting force both on his moral reckoning in the world — having the ability to commit violence and acts of degradation at will — and corrosive on his health and mental faculty. The danger he finds himself in as outcast causes him to experience delusions of self-interest to protect himself.
It’s an interestingly small novel. In The Time Machine our inventor goes thousands of years into the future to discover the future history of the Earth, and here, the eponymous character is mostly running amok in the countryside.
Be on the look out for some truly unexpected and jarring racial outbursts!