Homer and Langley by E.L Doctorow

Homer & Langley tells the fictional story of two real brothers who died in a Fifth Avenue mansion filled with treasures and detritus after a lifetime of collecting, much of which spent cut off from the world, having dismissed the staff and rarely venturing out. One brother is blind and the other is nominally the crazy one, the one who accumulates the trash and clearly returned from his European tour of duty during World War I with emotional issues, but they start out with a rather normal lifestyle, even if it involves hosting  paying tea parties in their immense living room before moving a car into it, dismissing all the servants, and nursing a mafia don after a shootout.

The blind brother is an interesting character. While he does not have the paranoiac and compulsive tendencies of his brother he does not exactly go out of his way to get help or to escape, although he can and does get out of the house on his own. Perhaps because the changes are gradual he seems to accept each new delirious restriction as just another opportunity to play the piano a little more. I enjoyed the book very much for his depiction of how crazy can become a way of life.

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Filed under New fiction

One response to “Homer and Langley by E.L Doctorow

  1. Pingback: * The Hoarder in You by Robin Zasio | FT's Books

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