Thursday, November 26, 2009

Homer and Langley

E.L. Doctorow has long been a favorite author. With "Homer and Langley" he remains near the top of my list.

The fictionalized story of the infamous Collyer brothers, extraordinary hoarders, and just all round weird guys, he has written a story of compassion, and sadness, making me glad I am not in their shoes. I confess, I am messy. There, I said it. Not dirty, but messy. I cannot have a flat surface without something on it. Homer and Langley could not have an empty floor, or cabinet, in fact they had a Model T to generate electricity, so they did not have to pay Con Ed. Pretty clever if you ask me. (if only it had worked)

Reclusive to the extreme, Homer, sightless, and Langley losing his mind, they lived for decades with tons of discards, and trash, eventually, the whole thing caved in. (literally) How they managed, and struggled is a compelling read. The last paragraph is heartbreaking.

Such a sad story, so well told, it should not be missed.

I got this from my public library.


  1. Thanks for this review, not a book I'll ever read though as tidy to the point of being annoying - yes, I admit it - I couldn't stand to read it, the compulsion to tidy would be too much.

  2. This sounds really intriguing, though probably depressing. :-)

  3. I've only read one of his books, 'Some one comes to town, someone leaves' and it was strange but compelling. i am still wondering about the mother who was a washing machine.

  4. I also read the library copy and was glad i did. I liked it but did not love this one. My expectations were higher.

  5. There's a 1954 novel called My Brother's Keeper which also deals with the Collyers. I really really want to read this one. Really, really. Thanks for the review.