The Visible Man

  • by Chuck Klosterman
  • Narrated by Annabella Sciorra, Scott Shepherd
  • 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Austin, Texas. Therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable. As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions: Y__, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible. He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when they are alone and vulnerable. Unsure of his motives or honesty, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and the disclosure of his increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales. Over time, it threatens her career, her marriage, and her own identity.
Interspersed with notes, correspondence, and transcriptions that catalog a relationship based on curiosity and fear, The Visible Man touches on all of Chuck Klosterman’s favorite themes: the consequence of culture, the influence of media, the complexity of voyeurism, and the existential contradiction of normalcy. Is this comedy, criticism, or horror? Not even Y__ seems to know for sure.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hillarious & Disturbing In (almost) Equal Measure

This is the first audiobook I've ever started and finished all in one day. Annabella Sciorra starts off the narrative that provides a quick back-story and set up; then you're off to the races with a book that, through most of it, is one of the funniest I've ever read, and made exponentially more amusing through the amazing performance delivered by Scott Shepherd.

Over 50% of the book (percentage is my rough estimation) is done by Shepherd as the man who can hide in plain sight. Picture Dane Cook as a Sociopath. His stories and observations on the private, hidden lives of single people, married people, roommates, and roadies is so unexpectedly accurate that I repeatedly laughed out loud in my living room while listening. I actually stopped halfway through just to send a copy of the audiobook to my best friend.

So why not 5 stars? The serious, disturbing side of the book, while not bad, can't hold up to the quality and caliber of the funny side. Any time they pulled away from the hysterical monologues delivered during the sessions, it was a big let down, and a real change in quality.

Don't get me wrong; the serious aspect was...ok; it just couldn't live up to the insane ramblings that kept me in stitches. I also want to stress that Annabella Sciorra is AMAZING in her delivery. Still, the end of the book had you forgetting just how amazing the middle 80% of the story was.

If you like dry dark humor that leans towards making fun of the most mundane aspects of our lives (think Seinfeld), as perceived by an egomaniacal - but very intelligent - jerk, GET THIS BOOK. Just expect to be a little wistful at the end that the funny parts ever had to end.
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- Amanda "I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it."

Are You Being Watched?

Unlike other reviewers, any intended humor in this work largely eluded me. To me the most appropriate adjectives describing this book would include dark, sad and frightening. What is disturbing about "Y," the "visible" (really invisible) man of the title, is the same thing that is disturbing in the idea of a ghost--that is, the idea of an intelligent, invisible presence following, watching and at times interacting with us in our most private moments. What makes the character of Y additionally loathsome is his sanctimonious arrogance in assuming his right to act as he does.

I confess that I am genuinely puzzled as to what others found funny in this book. I can only imagine it consists of the sections detailing the private behavior of those Y chooses to watch in the seclusion of their homes. I found these sections more sad than amusing since they show human beings at their most vulnerable--letting down their guards and casting off the persona they assume for the benefit of the rest of the world. Y's conduct in these circumstances is nothing short of despicable.

There are interesting ideas suggested in this book but ultimately none of them are really developed satisfactorily. Neither of the 2 main characters are at all likable,which makes understanding just what makes them tick that much more difficult. I'm giving this book three stars overall because it is well-written and did hold my interest, but I admit that it left me feeling slightly nauseated--perhaps what the author intended but not really my cup of tea.
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- Diane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-04-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio