Monday, October 5, 2009

Homer & Langley

They were found dead amongst their collected junk - bales of newspapers, crates, bicycles, worn clothing and guns, to name of few - the Collyer brothers are iconic American pack rats that spark imagination within us. What went on behind those shuttered windows, the booby traps and bolted doors? What lives did these living ghosts live? What drove them to collect articles of junk to store in their homes?

E. L. Doctorow, author of Lives of Poets, takes a creative crack at the secret lives of the Collyer brothers through the eyes (no pun intended) of the blind, younger brother Homer.

I first learned of Doctorow's masterpiece, Homer & Langley, through a piece written in Esquire entitled "Two Great New Books on a New Kind of Apocalypse." The review covered both Doctorow's novel and Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, stating:
Both novels make a reader ache for a city long gone. But they also let us know that the end of the world as we know it may only be the end of the world as we know it. What's truly scary is not that life will end but that it will continue in ever reduced circumstances.

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