I read this book on Friday, January 7, but still wanted to get it in here. I had been wanting to read Homer & Langley: A Novel for the longest time and finally got my hands on it this week when I found it at the Steimatzky store at the new Mamilla Shopping Mall in Jerusalem.I love E.L. Doctorow and always have. I still think that my favorite book he ever wrote was City of God but Homer & Langley: A Novel
still had me crying at the end.
It is the story of two recluse brothers who live in a mansion on 5th Avenue in New York City. It is apparently a true story: the Collyer brothers really lived. I remember seeing a photo of their house in the New York Times book review and really wanting to read the book myself. I tend to be a pack rat and a collector myself – though not quite to the extent as these guys were! To my surprise, what I found most moving was Homer’s account of his blindness and his slow descent into deafness as well. That was what had me crying at the end of the book: the idea that someone could lose their sight and hearing and really only live in the world of their own mind. I found that so sad. At some point Langley says “There is endless debate as to whether we see the real world or only the world as it appears in our minds” and I found that idea very interesting. Certainly we get a very unique view of the world as told through Homer’s eyes.