Customer Reviews for

Homer and Langley

Average Rating 3.5
( 99 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

i loved it

its a story that blooms inside you. memorable characters. reading it was like chatting with an old friend and getting deep inside their personal ideology. the story tells of how the blind see deeply and how blind the sighted can be. definitely a permanent library book. ...
its a story that blooms inside you. memorable characters. reading it was like chatting with an old friend and getting deep inside their personal ideology. the story tells of how the blind see deeply and how blind the sighted can be. definitely a permanent library book. great piece of american literature.

posted by tamesthetic on September 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

???

Sorry to say that I could only get 50 pages into this book. Boring would be a kind description of the story.

posted by KenCady on September 7, 2009

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    i loved it

    its a story that blooms inside you. memorable characters. reading it was like chatting with an old friend and getting deep inside their personal ideology. the story tells of how the blind see deeply and how blind the sighted can be. definitely a permanent library book. great piece of american literature.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2009

    A masterpiece

    Doctorow has an incredible ability to bring his characters to life. He draws you into this story with his unique and poetic use of the language and one can't help but to get hooked by his prose.
    A must read!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    A Fresh Look At An Old Story

    My family often refers to the Collyer brothers as a way to (hopefully) inspire some house cleaning. My parents are native New Yorkers and clearly remember the tale of these wealthy siblings, trapped by their mental illnesses and the inherited money that allowed them to exist in such a bizarre manner. Although this is a fictionalized account of the real life Collyers, it reads as non-fiction. The plan to write a "memoir" is very well executed. I truly enjoyed this.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    E. L. Doctorow Has Written Another Gem!

    E. L. Doctorow's take on these historical brothers is masterful. He has crafted a story for the reader to understand how the two privileged Collyer brothers might have ended up reclusive and lonely. This epic tale encompasses wars, political movements, police corruption and advancing technology in a spellbinding way. The reader of this audiobook brilliantly made the pages come alive and the characters real. I highly recommend this book, which is in the class of Ragtime and Billy Bathgate.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good mix of fact & fiction

    I like reading this style of story. If you read it, just be sure to do a little bit of research first. Don't take the storyline as gospel truth, but Doctorow certainly does pesent a very plausible look into the mind of Homer. I do even know some people with similar housekeeping habits!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Doctorow -- What else do you need?

    While I would not classify this as Doctorow's finest work, even when he's mediocre, quite honestly, he's so far superior to most of what else is out there, that this is well worth the read. Doctorow's ability to create fiction based upon historical events and people is always pleasing and satisfying. I'm a fan of Doctorow and have read all of his work and would have no problem recommending "Homer and Langley" to other readers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    ???

    Sorry to say that I could only get 50 pages into this book. Boring would be a kind description of the story.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Entirely Uncalled for and Depressing Ending

    The book was interesting and enjoyable right up until the last 20 pages or so. Doctorow did a good job developing the main characters, and his first person narrative style is incredibly engaging. The way that Homer relates his life is moving, and it's delivery makes one feel like one is listening to an old man on his back porch thinking aloud about his younger days.

    The part that makes the book horrible is its ending. The author takes this tale of life, with all of its ups and downs, and ends it in such a depressing manner completely unbefitting the rest of the book. I'm not asking for a happy ending to all of the tales that I read, but this one was way out of line.

    I do not recommend this book to anyone, but if you feel the need to read it, put it down early before the ending ruins the entirety of the tale.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2010

    Read this before you purchase e-book!

    I enjoyed this fascinating journey through history from the viewpoint of the two brothers.

    But I don't recommend this book as an e-book until B & N fixes the problem with the disappearing margins. Half-way through the book, the nicely spaced margins disappeared. This was on the Medium Font setting. The words were right next to the edges of the screen which made for uncomfortable reading. I just read a review of another e-book and a similar problem was described as an 'e-book format problem'.

    This is only the second book I've purchased to read on my new Nook. Barnes & Noble should not release books in e-book form until they get the formatting correct. I look forward to reading many more books on my Nook and trust this book-seller will address this issue.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Interesting but...

    I enjoyed the book but frankly was annoyed by the factual inaccuracy. Am not sure why it was necessary to change the story of two very real and very weird eccentrics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    Kind of Slow Moving

    The wrtting style was fine. The story of Brother whom my Mother used to say I was like was really interesting.
    I thought the book lacked direction. It seemed the writer was taking my from place to place with no real pattern, or meaning for being there.

    All in all, it was not bad. I think the best part for me, was I was able to re-live the New York City area.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Fascinating

    Kept engrossed right up to the heartbreaking ending. Narrator's voice is sharp and spellbinding. You can practically hear his closing words echoing through the house. I can nevet fault Doctorow. Who can criticize the genius who gave the world Ragtime?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Great Book

    Great book to read. In the beginning did not what to expect in the first few pages but the read was a pleasant surprise. Great book club book to discuss.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Collecting the 20th Century!

    When wealthy,reclusive brothers succumb to hoarding behavior their collection is not only about them it is also about us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Imaginative insight into an historical event

    Intelligent, fictionalized account of two brothers in NY who became famous in death for their compulsive hording -
    Gives humanity and understanding to a family that was castigated in their time for such odd behavior.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Vintage Doctorow

    This is a fascinating book about a very strange compulsive behavior. Doctorow does a masterful job in describing the relationship between these two brothers in a very implausable living situation. Highly recommend.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Light,enjoyable read

    Enjoyed the insight on hoarding. Writing style was light,but enjoyable. Very descriptive. You could "see" the home. Like the musical references,too. Plot was thin. Characters were well developed. Liked how one brother commented on other brother. Made me laugh aloud.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    Modern Historical Fiction with Psychological Intrigue

    I decided to purchase this book after hearing E.L. Doctorow read the first few pages at one of the "Writers on a New England Stage" events we enjoy here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I was immediately pulled into the drama of the lives of the Collyer brothers, their privileged upbringing and the view of life from Homer, the blind brother and narrator of the story. However, Doctorow's reading of the first few evocative pages was only a taste of the fascinating tale to come. The story gets much more interesting when you discover Langley, who is a bright yet injured man with an obsessive-compulsive disorder of the hoarding variety. E.L. Doctorow said that he first became interested in the Collyer brothers when the New York City Fire Department had to go through the roof of the Collyer Mansion to reach the brothers because the home was otherwise inaccessible...and they lived on Fifth Avenue so it must have been quite a spectacle. The cover photograph is taken from Central Park and shows the mansion surrounded by taller buildings dwarfing the residence.

    The adventures of the brothers, who were orphaned when they were young men, are a reflection of the life and times in New York as well as the influence of the outer world on their increasingly insular world. As E.L. Doctorow stated, it is a historical novel. He took the skeletal framework of the facts of the two brothers lives and hung the story on that framework as a a dresser drapes clothing on a dress model. It is a lovely draping.

    There are events and changes that happened in the world over the years that managed to enter the brothers sphere and touch them profoundly. The brothers themselves are compelling. Homer, the blind musician, is an acute observer who seduces women easily into his later years. Langley, the damaged intellectual, is a miser who nevertheless becomes an extravagent collector of oddities until the end. One is stable, the other completely unpredictable, yet they both co-exist and depend upon each other in a world all their own.

    I liked this book because of the way the "world all their own" was drawn so beautifully by E.L. Doctorow's writing. There is nothing wasted in the writing, nothing peripheral or distracting in the story, and every word falls into place perfectly. As such, it is a fast and completely enjoyable read.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Cover was done well and interesting.

    This book tends to drag on-a slow read. There were too many thoughts and memories coming from Homer and not enough about the character of Langley. I am disappointed.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    MADE ME WANT TO KNOW THE FACTS

    An interesting version of the brothers Collyer. But by the time I was done, it only made me want to know what REALLY happened by culling as much as possible from articles online. There were immediate discrepancies - big ones - so I guess I'd prefer the real thing. Still, Doctorow of course is worthy of the material.

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