A quick and fascinating Read …
I was very surprised to find that so many of my friends had never heard, nor read, about the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley. They were the infamous pair who lived and died amid tons of debris in their once-elegant Manhattan brownstone in the ‘40‘s.
E. L. Doctorow brings them alive in his latest book which is, admittedly, based loosely on their history. The narrator is the younger brother Homer. He is blind but is acutely aware of his surroundings and of the strange doings of his brother, Langley.
Langley has been gassed in World War I and returns home an embittered man who is gradually losing touch with reality. His passion is for collecting and he does so with a vengeance. The only problem is that he can never throw anything out.
Homer’s narration takes on a protective note as he relates how his brother becomes enamored with “things” and they become part of their lives…including a Model T Ford that they assemble in the dining room. They also become frustrated with the City of New York and, when they refuse to pay for services their heat, water and electricity are turned off.
If you decide to read this book you will read about the ingenious ways that they stayed alive and the fascinating characters that crossed their path and invaded their sanctuary. Gangsters, hippies and musicians are just a few of these.
I hope you will enjoy “Homer and Langley” as much as I did.