Alan's Reviews > Homer & Langley

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
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's review
May 08, 12

bookshelves: new-york-theme, historical-fiction
Read in May, 2012

A tragic story of two brothers - Homer and Langley Collery? The former lost his sight at an early age and the latter lost some of his mental falculties after being gassed in WWI. Their parents died in the flu pandemic of 1918 and from then until 1947 they lived in a mansion on Fifth Ave and 128th St. The elder brother, Langley, was a compulsive hoarder and died under the weight of the hoarded junk. Homer died of malnutrition.

Doctorow tells the story from Homer's perspective as he becomes physically trapped in his blindness as well as in the growing amounts of debris in the house. There are some liberties - in the book their lives extend into the 1970s; however the feeling of impending madness permeates the book and it is a chronicle of the 20th century (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the moon landing) through the sensations of a blind man. Excellent book!
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