Friday, September 04, 2009

Homer and Langley

E. L. Doctorow has written one of my all-time favorite short stories, and I have always found the Collyer brothers intriguing, so I eagerly immersed myself into his newly-released novel, which is based very loosely on their history. Homer and Langley Collyer were famous for barricading themselves in their New York mansion in the early 20th century, filling it with hoarded miscellany, and dying--one under a collapsed heap of trash, the other, crippled and unable to care for himself, shortly thereafter of starvation.

But I found I could not finish the book. While Doctorow has a wonderful voice and storytelling skills, I found that knowing how it all ended made it incredibly depressing. Sometimes we really don't want to know that they don't live happily ever after. Also, sexual relationships are described in some detail. But with those caveats, you could enjoy a well-written story that I, alas, could not.


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