Read Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris Online


Invisible Life is the story of a young man's coming of age. Law school, girlfriends, and career choices were all part of Raymond Tyler's life, but there were other, more terrifying issues for him to confront. Being black was tough enough, but Raymond was becoming more and more conscious of sexual feelings that he knew weren't "right." He was completely committed to Sela, hInvisible Life is the story of a young man's coming of age. Law school, girlfriends, and career choices were all part of Raymond Tyler's life, but there were other, more terrifying issues for him to confront. Being black was tough enough, but Raymond was becoming more and more conscious of sexual feelings that he knew weren't "right." He was completely committed to Sela, his longtime girlfriend, but his attraction to Kelvin, whom he had met during his last year in law school, had become more than just a friendship. No matter how much he tried to suppress them, his feelings were deeply sexual.Fleeing to New York to escape both Sela and Kelvin, Raymond finds himself more confused than ever before. New relationships -- both male and female -- give him enormous pleasure but keep him from finding the inner peace and lasting love he so desperately desires. The horrible illness and death of a friend force Raymond, at last, to face the truth....

Title : Invisible Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385469685
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Invisible Life Reviews

  • DeMon Spencer
    2019-02-26 05:50

    I'm such a huge fan of the late Mr E Lynn Harris. Following the news of his death I wrote a blog about how I came to love his books and about how he touched my life. Here's a copy of that blog:I was very troubled to hear about the passing of Mr. Harris. To me he was more than just an author. He helped me see that being an out gay black male was possible. The way I first discovered his writing was kind of serendipitous. I was a very unhappy closeted college freshman at East Carolina University. I've always had a passion for reading and used books as a way to escape my life's reality and it's inner-turmoil. I would go to Barnes and Nobel quite often to sip coffee and find new books to read. I was aware that they had a "Gay and Lesbian interest" book section, but I was so deeply closeted that I couldn't even walk toward that aisle even though I wanted to very badly. During one of my days there I walked around a bit and found a couple of books that looked interesting. I went to purchase my coffee and found a comfortable chair to sit in while I went through my books to see which ones I wanted to buy. I sat my things on the coffee table in front of me and I noticed an interesting looking book lying there on the table that someone had left for the employees to re-shelve. I picked it up and read the title "Invisible Life". That really peaked my interest because I felt like I was living an invisible life. I started to read and it drew me in instantly...*TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST, PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW:

  • Dennis
    2019-02-21 04:55

    The passing of this lovely man will not only leave a big hole in my reading list each year but puts an end to his heartfelt and powerful exploration of these specific lives. Since I read his first four books back to back about a decade ago, I have looked forward to spending at least one weekend each summer with his characters who are in some ways so different from those that populate my caucasian agnostic Angeleno life and in other ways absolutely the same. The heroes of his books are so fundamentally good they've always brought out the best in me and there are wonderful friends in my life today because I first made friends with people like them in his books. He's helped me understand my African-American brothers and sisters, straight and gay, and he's helped me better understand myself.

  • Coffeeboss
    2019-03-02 06:57

    Having learned of author Harris via his recent death, I was curious about his introductory groundbreaking novel that was one of the first to acknowledge gay and bisexual black men on the "down low" who passed as straight. The idea of the character Ray being simultaneously in love with two perfect people (male Quinn and female Nicole) is intriguing, but the writing was, I have to say, pretty awful. Ex: "Her skin tone was a yellowish brown-waffle color," "Her skin was paper-sack brown," "I could see my black Jockey shorts against my camel-colored skin," and, my favorite, "she moved [my hand:] toward her erected breasts." Wow. I wish I could say nicer things about this book, but I can only hope Harris' writing got better as his career became established.

  • ✨Amina™ ✨
    2019-02-21 06:53

    Dnf @ 169Okay I’ve had enough, this writing is not good at all. “Her erected breast” “her vanilla wafer colored skin” It’s just not good, so bad. And the characters??? I hate everyone they’re so boring and insubstantial. The main character has the worst view on his own sexuality as a bi man and it makes me so uncomfortable as a bi woman to read some of the terrible shit he’s saying that goes completely uncontested by the narrative. All his relationships and friendships are so boring. Everything about this was just not good for me. Which is so incredibly disappointing because it’s a book by a black man about a black bisexual character and his life. I had hoped to love this but it’s so....icky.

  • Abby Brithinee
    2019-03-16 02:43

    I haven't read an LGBTQ novel since I was an undergrad, and at the time, I only read about women, so reading about coming out from the perspective of an African American man was different from most of the things I've read in the past. Ray is a closeted bisexual black man living in what I believe to be the 1980s. He was born and raised (and went to college) in Alabama, but moved to New York for law school and stayed for work and the lifestyle. In Invisible Life, he struggles with the decisions he has to make between the way he feels and the life he wants to live.I've read a lot of positive reviews about this book, and I agree that it does have a lot to say. However, I don't think that having something significant to say is a good enough reason to write (or read) a book. The writing style was so unimaginative that the sentences all started to sound the same, and the more emotional scenes were flat and emotionless, which was kind of sad in itself, because they should have been poignant. Reading this book felt like listening to a man recite the history of his life in a monotone, discussing his greatest joys and lowest sorrows without any difference in inflection. I just couldn't get into the story.I intend to read more similar books to find something I do enjoy. While I did not enjoy this book, I do still think I would recommend it to people who were interested in books about gay and bisexual African American men. Not everyone has my writing style preferences, and a lot of people have really loved this book.

  • Mike
    2019-03-18 08:34

    Where do i begin with this disappointing read?I truly found this to be INSULTING to Black Women. Cowardly bisexual black men lying and cheating on women is no life for anyone. Although we live in a different time than when this was published, I am still disappointed in its embrace of racist and homophobic stereotypes. Not only that but the writing was all over the place. There was never truly a central focus for the protagonist while the reader was subjected to frequent info-dumping. Had this been the first Harris book I read, as it was published, it would have been my last. Luckily, I know of a few more titles way better than this utter garbage.

  • Erica
    2019-02-24 01:41

    This was the first down low book I ever read and my first book by this author.The story is developed around two gay male of which is a flamboyant, out of the closet man....the other is a more conservative, professional man that seems confused and ashamed by his sexuality...Raymond is his name. The two main characters are best friends so we learn two perspectives on gay life for a black man in America.Needless to say this book was DEEP. A good read and I highly recommend it.Harris revisits these characters in 2 or 3 later books so I would read this first if you are new to his writings.

  • Tamika
    2019-03-17 07:37

    Excerpts from my readers response notebook..."Could you give up the lifestyle and the life?""But what would she disapprove of most? Would her reaction be the same if I were enjoying the same conversation with Quinn? Would she have preferred me to be dating a white woman or dating a black man?"So I wrote these excerpts when I read this book three years ago. No clue what the context was from the story...or what my thoughts were. Presently, I don't know what would infuriate me find out that my man was with a white woman (or any woman for that matter) or dating a man. If you admit that dating a man would make you more upset does that make you homophobic?? Does this level of cheat with a man surpass the deception of cheating with a woman? Is there more pain and anger that comes from finding out that it is a man that he has turned to rather than another woman?? And does the reverse hold true...meaning that men would be more angered about cheating with a woman over a man? :o) For some reason I'm inclined to think they would be more accepting of a lesbian relationship than we would be of a gay relationship.Still unsure what my answer would be...pray that I never have to experience this.

  • Shiloh
    2019-02-27 05:58

    My review has spoilers...I didn't think this story was bad enough to be filed in my Sucked Shelf, but it was pretty awful. It read like it was written by a ten year old--lots of simple sentences and a shallow protagonist. It was really hard to root for Ray, a gay man living in the 80's who has accepted the fact that he's gay but chooses to string along women to keep the gay part of him a secret. He's very judgmental of others and how they choose to live: Kyle, for example, who becomes an escort to pay the bills... I will say the story was consistent, and the ending with his father coming around to approve (somewhat) of him being gay, AND implying that it's ok to keep lying to women about it really made me angry. I have to remind myself it was the 80's, but I still think today the young African American male is obsessed with his image and what people think of him, straight or gay. I thought Ray had the emotional range of a 13 year old girl.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-18 01:47

    Incredible read on bisexuality and masking it. I can see why E. Lynn Harris was so highly praised for this back when this first came out. 'Invisible Life' touches on every heartbeat of how one can understand, accept and cope with their sexuality on top of being a person of color. Smooth, honest, and comfortable storytelling. It's almost serene reading this after so many years of social and political change surrounding LGBT and sexual liberation.Rating - 4.85/5

  • Christy
    2019-03-02 09:42

    What could have been a timely exploration of sexual confusion and the AIDS epidemic ended up being a Sweet Valley High book for gay dudes.

  • Winter Sophia Rose
    2019-03-20 08:47

    Eye Opening, Deep, Heart Wrenching, Engrossing, Insightful & Touching! An Excellent Read! I Loved It!

  • Rachel Simone
    2019-02-22 08:57

    This book follows a young bisexual Black man through adolescence and adulthood and how he navigates life and relationships (friendships, romantic and family). It is a very well-written and vivid book. I am happy that we have made some progress in the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, but there were parts of the book that were still pretty relevant.Something random, but enjoyable - I was digging my car out of the snow while listening to this book and the part of the book was talking about how it was 10 below in NYC. It felt very appropriate.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-03 07:31

    My friend Jazmen recommended this to me. She said it would really open my eyes to how someone can think their whole life that they're straight, but from one encounter with the same sex, could potentially change your mind about what you thought of yourself. I did thoroughly enjoy this book. I thought it was very well written and a fantastic message. I like how Sela and Raymond were in a sorority/frat because I'm very interested in that life and all their events, etc. I loved the relationship that Ray had with his mother. AIDS also popped up in this book somewhere, and that is a subject that I really don't know much about. I know the basics, but having a character contract AIDS in this book was a really tough thing for me to read. I'm hoping the next in the series we get to follow more of that character's life. Very good read, just a bit slow at times.

  • Phoebe
    2019-03-22 07:52

    I read E. Lynn Harris' obituary a few weeks ago and was intrigued. According to the NY Times, "His books married the superficial glamour of jet-setting potboilers with an emotional candor that shed light on a segment of society that had received little attention: black men on the down low - that is, men who are publicly heterosexual but secretly have sex with men." Sounds good, right? I immediately jumped online to request a copy of "Invisible Life" from the library.Ugh. "Invisible Life" was basically an extra-crappy, surprisingly depressing romance novel without the usual happy ending. The novel's only saving grace were the sex scenes, which were frequent and hilarious, including many references to man parts with the confusingly vague euphemism, "his sex". (Also, what exactly are "throbbing breasts"?)Throughout the novel, you can tell that Harris is really trying to let loose his inner poet, but the results are often nonsensical. The first paragraph of chapter one: "There is something poetic about falling in love. The tingling sensation lingers like the lyrical words of a Langston Hughes poem. There is something romantic about the changing of the seasons. A romance reminiscent of an unending summer, or one as fleeting as spring or fall. Whenever I think back on the loves of my life, I am often reminded of the seasons. There are four seasons. I have been in love four times." He describes love number one (summertime), then drops the season metaphor completely. The first chapter is such a disaster, I almost gave up.And yet, I read the whole book. It's a mindless page-turner, and this is summer beach-reading season (unending or not). I was hoping for some insight into men on the down low, as promised in the Times obit, and I guess I got it. I learned some new slang, which was very patiently and clumsily defined, often with unnecessary italics. Harris' disdain for the black gay community he's describing often borders on homophobia, which undermines the narrator's reliability and gives the book a sadder tone than was probably intended. Part of what got me excited to read "Invisible Life" was the fact that E. Lynn Harris has been incredibly successful, not with gay men but with straight women. I liked the idea of straight women stumbling across a book that made them think more deeply about queer lives. Now I can't decide whether "Invisible Life" does more harm than good. Harris portrays bisexuality as confused and dangerous. He has no respect for "sissies" and out gay men. He makes being gay sounds like a tragedy that stands in the way of man's true happiness: heterosexual marriage. If that's his perspective, okay. Does his popularity bring me any joy? No.

  • Dan
    2019-03-08 03:48

    In the vein of the Tales of the City books with a pinch more concern for middle-class respectability. The main tension is around whether or not Raymond, a bisexual man, will pick the gay life or the straight one. Throughout we get a lot of hand-wringing over which gender he prefers in bed and emotionally. He's dealing with an embarrassment of riches here since his girlfriend and boyfriend (though he never uses that word) are both, seemingly, awesome people and great lays. It was hard for me to read Invisible Life without judging it by contemporary standards. I really had to force myself to stay in an early 90's mindset. Even still, I kept thinking: Why choose? Maybe the sequels tackle that question in more depth, but I don't think I'll be reading them. While I zipped through this in two days, I was never really hooked and the level of craft was pretty off-putting (lots of unnecessary dialogue tags, passive voice run amuck, etc). I'm glad I read it from a historical perspective, though. I'm glad to have a deeper bench of black LGBT lit as a result of reading this.One major quibble, Harris glossed over a lot of the gay sex, but made sure to dwell on the straight sex. I wouldn't say I was reading it for the sex, but there were times when the prospect of some hot man-on-man love was the only thing getting me through the ponderous prose. Also one question: Ladies, do breasts really get erect? Like, seriously, is that a thing? 'Cause they do here, a lot.If you liked this, make sure to follow me on Goodreads for more reviews!

  • Serenity
    2019-02-24 06:30

    This book CHANGED my life in terms of how I see men. I bought this book and read it in 2 days while out for the summer after my junior year of college. I was living in Atlanta at the time and I felt like the story could relate to me for one of the characters attended Morehouse College which I frequented for classes a few times. Why did it change me?I HAD NO idea of the bisexual world. Absolutely NO CLUE at all. But reading this book shared with me some of those emotions and urges that men have but may use a woman to cover up their true sexuality. After I had read this book my friend found out that her boyfriend came OUT our senior year in school. We were all clueless that he was gay because they had a sexual relationship so that is why this book somewhat gave me a clue that some people just lie or are not honest about their sexual orientation. This may have been the one book that saved me from being too judgmental too of the *downlow* lifestyle after reading it. I just wish more men and women could feel more comfortable in their sexuality than hiding it. This is painful as the main character, Raymond, shared.Though the characters are African American I still believe that other cultures could relate because of this issue of living on the down low. It is a powerful read and in my humble opinion, his best book (but, I have not read everything that E Lynn Harris has written so this is just from my eyes)

  • Monique
    2019-03-04 01:45

    Okay so as I stated I am recently getting into E.Lynn Harris books, unfortunately after he passed away but better late than never..I am trying to understand his popularity and learn something new about the secretive but oh so intriguing life of brothers who date other brothers but dont consider themselves gay..In this book the protagonist Raymond is approached his senior year of college when he is deep in love with his high school sweetheart about having a homosexual affair, he goes through with it and unleashes his inner sexuality and begins to explore...As he dates men exclusively he is introduced to a beautiful aspiring actress and then is caught in a love triangle with the both of them..I cant say that I didnt like the book as I finished it in like three days but I can say that it didnt feel fresh or new or funny for that matter, I was looking for a diversion before another immersion in historical and dramatic fiction and was a little disappointed...I plan to read the sequel and more of his books because I do think his books are readable and enjoyable just not memorable or insightful..waiting patiently for something new to prove me wrong..

  • Bradley
    2019-03-23 05:32

    In February I set a goal to read more African-American lit. I don't think that a book should be labeled "black" or "gay" or "woman's" because the label might turn people off of what might be a really great story.Invisible Life isn't a great story. But I still enjoyed it. It's about an African-American guy coming to terms with his bisexuality during the early 80's. The book touches on serious subjects but it's written in a way where it seems frothy and fluffy. Some days I can appreciate that, other days not so much. And I really hated the ending. It wasn't really an ending at all, it just sorta stopped because this is the first book of a trilogy. I wasn't emotionally involved with the characters so it's doubtful that I'll pick up book two. But, then again, I might need something to read next February.

  • Michael-
    2019-03-22 09:47

    Ground breaking, inspiring and life changing. This book opened many doors for black LGBT authors, yet closed many closet doors tighter. The story was very dear to me because many of the places in New York City I came out in were mentioned. However, it also changed the black gay community forever. This book is seen as an exposé by some and sent some black men who were straddling the fence running for the hills. It also got black women up in arms and left them with little trust in their counterparts. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story.

  • Jazsilver
    2019-03-20 09:54

    I found myself disliking the main character, Raymond, and I wasn't sure why at first. But I realized that the author's writing style made it nearly impossible for me to connect with Raymond. The story would skip huge amounts of time with very little detail and events central to relationship and character development were glossed over, in my opinion. I never felt as though I really understood Raymond's motivations or struggles, so I found him to be frustratingly fickle. I bought the other two books in the series, so I feel obligated to read them. But I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

  • Larry
    2019-03-06 04:41

    I really like his books and am glad that there is a black gay author out there writing books about the gay black experience even if he is not strictly considered a gay author in his own community. Black woman are said to be his biggest readers and supporters. I know a lot of gay men that wont read his books because he makes most of his charecters bi sexual and not wholly gay. Personally I think that he depicts the down low black man as accurately as any one else. I have read several of his books and have enjoyed them all equally.

  • Natalie
    2019-03-04 09:37

    Invisible life introduces us to Raymond Jr. Raymond is a bisexual male confused with his sexuality. This first novel by E.Lynn Harris takes you through the life of Raymond beginning in his college years. From there we learn the triumphs of being a bisexual Black man in America. I truly enjoyed this novel by E.Lynn. I felt the story read very smoothly and his writing style is GREAT. I read this book in 5 hours and can't wait to pick up part two.

  • Susan
    2019-03-12 04:32

    E. Lynn Harris was in Seattle recently promoting his latest book. I read a couple of interviews with him that peeked my interest so I got his first book - this one and read it. It's really an easy read and a really interesting view into the life of a black gay man. As a white straight woman, this is a world I honestly don't know at all and this small novel was a really interesting read.

  • Nicole
    2019-03-19 06:37

    Sign....its unfortunate that I had to visit a throwback to get this kind of literary satisfaction. This was the perfect romance to read. I really enjoyed the writing style and passionate expressions on love and utter confusion. Raymond was a powerful force to reckon with, having been the alpha and omega. Chin chin and RIP Mr Harris.

  • Aubrey
    2019-03-12 01:38

    I was surprised to find this book only so-so, considering some reviews. I found the writing to be about the level of some of my writing groups. The protagonist is a successful African American man who is confused about his sexuality. Even though he considers himself bisexual, I often felt that he was gay, but unwilling to admit it. I think that's why I wasn't happier with it.

  • Hannah
    2019-03-18 05:36

    I started reading this on a plane, with no other captivating entertainment options and in a context where I have a historically high threshold for abysmal writing. This was a total train wreck of a book--the plot, metaphors and character development were so bad that I couldn't put it down.

  • Tony Huggz
    2019-03-17 07:42

    A great read to the trilogy and it all plays an important part in his later books.

  • Mary
    2019-03-15 09:43

    This is an interesting read, although it was forced upon me. I say try the first few pages. It is the story of a man trying to understand and acknowledge his place in life.

  • 'ro Maina
    2019-03-24 01:45

    Utterly forgettable.