Book: Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow
Genre: Literary Fiction
For: Random House ARC
When I got this book in the mail from Random House, I was very excited because it's by a big-time author, and though I've never read anything by him, I've wanted to for a long time. (specifically The March) So, because this particular book looked small, and easy, I felt good bumping it to the front of the line.
I knew absolutely NOTHING about the book, or it's subject. When I was a nearly done, I realized that this was actually based on a true story, the story of the Collyer brothers in New York. Anyone heard of them? Yeah, me neither. But after reading this story, I Googled and Wikipedia-ed and learned many interesting things about them.
So, this book is about these two brothers, Homer and Langley, and they live through many historical events. First, Langley goes off to fight in WWI and comes home sick from mustard gas. Meanwhile, Homer, because of reasons no one really understands, becomes blind. Eventually, all the people in their lives die or move away, and they are left to fend for themselves in this huge mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York. They both have some strange ideas about life, and as the years go on, they get stranger and stranger.
They suffer through WWII with the rest of the country. They enjoy the hippy/counter culture movement in their own way. They see man land on the moon. They live on and on through various major historical events. As they do so, they accumulate more and more stuff. Their biggest problem.... they never throw anything away.
So this is what they become famous for... their hoarding problem. Wow, what a story.
I would give you the link so you can learn more about them, BUT if you want to read the book (which comes out in September) and you haven't heard about these brothers before, you may want to avoid the spoilers. However, below I share with you a "for real" picture taken of a very very small part of their hoard.
Anyway, I totally loved it even though it's quite the sad and pathetic story. Doctorow's style is simple yet descriptive, one I really like. I hope to bump some of his other books to the top of the pile soon.
Question: Have you heard of these brothers before? And... did you get the book in the mail and if so, do you you plan on reading it soon?