Homer and Langley

Homer and Langley

by E. L. Doctorow
3.6 100


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Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow

From Ragtime and Billy Bathgate to The Book of Daniel, World’s Fair, and The March, the novels of E. L. Doctorow comprise one of the most substantive achievements of modern American fiction. Now, with Homer & Langley, this master novelist has once again created an unforgettable work.

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers–the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers–wars, political movements, technological advances–and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400064946
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

E. L. Doctorow’s works of fiction include Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, Billy Bathgate, The Waterworks, City of God, The March, Homer & Langley, and Andrew’s Brain. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/ Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction. In 2014 he was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.


Sag Harbor, New York, and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 6, 1931

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


A.B., Kenyon College, 1952; postgraduate study, Columbia University, 1952-53

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Homer and Langley 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
tamesthetic More than 1 year ago
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.
AlexLovesToRead More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
lavendergreen More than 1 year ago
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.
Maximillian More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
AmericanPirate More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 18 days ago
Prose that is so beautiful it hurts.
WDShipley 6 months ago
If you enjoy history and rich literature, this is a great / enjoyable read.
Charlottes-son More than 1 year ago
First, well written. If you want to understand how sometimes hoarding gets started. This is one of those true life stories. I don't  know why Doctorow would want to change the time line. It has little impact on the story as it stands. But, he did tell the story with compassion and insight. 
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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 More than 1 year ago
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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