Isil Arican's Reviews > Homer & Langley

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
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's review
Aug 09, 2011

really liked it

I received an advance copy of this book as a promotional program via LivingSocial. Being unfamiliar with the writer and the genre I didn't know what to expect, so I turned the first page.

This book is about "change".

As you read the history of two brothers through Homer's words everything changes: the world, the music, the wars fought...everything.

The change starts with Homer going blind, and continues throughout the novel. The gifted child becomes blind, the hero sent off to the war turns mad and philosophical. The gangsters transform to witnesses. The halls of a great house once echoed with Brahms turn into a rat and cockroach infested labyrinths, loud with electrical music; chic tea parties transform to hippie pot parties.

As the changes continue you are wandering from the Spanish Flu to the Atomic Bomb, silent movies to the Apollo 11.

Homer and Langley are opposites. Homer is a realist and an observer even though he is blind, whereas Langley is the dreamer and a mad philosopher, scarred by the mustard gas and the war. As an observer would do, Homer tells the story of them both, in his own simple words.

I didn't know the story of the Collyer Brothers while I was reading the book, I learned about the actual brothers afterward. But after reading the book I felt like I was almost able to understand their urge for compulsive hoarding.

Overall I think this was a beautiful and well written book. the character formation is very good. It is smooth and takes you in. I think I will explore more of Doctorow's work now.

And the final is amazing.


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