Homer & Langley comes out in paperback at a time when shows like A&E's Hoarders are getting rave reviews on television, but it is not the usuaHomer & Langley comes out in paperback at a time when shows like A&E's Hoarders are getting rave reviews on television, but it is not the usual "quick fix" that you see on T.V. The novel is a complex, and beautifully written, account of the loss of sensations and the counter, an accumulation of materials.
The novel is told in a first person narrative by Homer, the musician and blind brother, of the infamous Collyer brothers. If you do not know who they are please direct your attention to the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_bro... which answers some questions. Long (true) story short, the brothers were notorious hoarders who eventually died in the labyrinthine mess they had collected over the many years.
E.L. Doctorow masterfully takes the makings of the Collyer's story, and twists and turns the human experience out of the urban legend. Homer and Langley, although both crippled by their own handicaps (and prisons), become full, likable characters to the reader and to the other characters in the book. Doctorow takes liberties on time, and fictionalizes most of the brothers' lives, but one is consumed by the odd nature of what is going on in the house. The irony is that the narrator cannot see the clutter filling the multiple stories of the 5th Ave. townhouse. Likewise, the reader doesn't "see" the clutter either. Doctorow does a wonderful job helping us feel, smell, touch, and almost taste the clutter, but only at times when a blind-passive-passionate-recluse would have us "know" his surroundings.
My good friends Oliver and Denise told me about this book after they heard Doctorow read from it sometime earlier this summer. I was enthralled when Oliver told me about the Collyer's demise. I thank them for guiding me in this direction.
To conclude, whether it be true or not true, perspective is 9/10th of the law--in literature....more
It is interesting that Harold Bloom's name is attached to this anthology of essays (personal and critical) of GLBT books. Richard Canning has all copyIt is interesting that Harold Bloom's name is attached to this anthology of essays (personal and critical) of GLBT books. Richard Canning has all copyright reserved according to the publishing page in the book. Either way, I hope that this will be something that someone in cyber Goodreads world will fix.
I enjoyed every word in this book. Like all criticism, it was easy and fun to read. The most exceptional essays have nice personal touches, as well as fabulous writing. The essays on Moby Dick and Mrs. Dalloway are both nicely written and very personal.
It is truly a book that I'm going to try and read everything in it. It should be a list for everyone to read, as the title suggests.
Better yet, Canning uses it as a vehicle to open up literature that is often overlooked and not already in the Canon. The titles may seem weird, The Book of Samuel in The Bible or Gore Vidal's memoir Palimpsest, because they are not usually viewed as "gay" books. They do fit into GLBT literary history. Each essay may give a new view of what we should read to dive deeper into the "Gay Canon," but the essays often lead the reader to more literature that may be seen as subversive and beautifully delightful!
Must read for anyone with a degree in English, gay, gay-friendly, gay-curious, gay-intrigued, has a gay cousin, or simply loves to be free in thought, whim or experience.