This book was selected by Cornell University for the 2011 Reading Project. Incoming Freshman read the book and can attend 6 lectures on it during Orientation. Other students, faculty and alumni are also invited to read the book. Addicted to audio books, I was delighted to find this on Audible. It did not disappoint.
The author brings to light the logic of these two illogical brothers. His prose is compelling and beautiful. The march of history through the living of their lives is informative. I especially enjoyed the philosophical observations that come out of the telling of this tale by the youngest brother, Homer.
The narration is a bit monotone but completely fits the character of Homer and only adds to the feeling of the book.
Here is why it was chosen by Cornell:
Homer and Langley provides a fictionalized redaction of the lives of the renowned Collyer brothers, whose story became a New York urban legend. In Doctorow’s words, “I was a teenager when the Collyer brothers were found dead in their Fifth Avenue brownstone. Instantly they were folklore. I didn’t know at the time I would someday write about them, but even then I felt there was some secret to the Collyers. There was something about them still to be discovered under the piles of things in their house—the bales of newspapers and the accumulated detritus of their lives.”
In today’s world, the phenomenon of over-accumulation has even become fodder for television reality programs. How about taking a look at the subject from a literary angle? Sound intriguing to you? Homer and Langley generates a variety of topics for discussion and exploration including major events of 20th-century America, from Prohibition to flower children, the modern media phenomenon of “reality,” the significance of community, the psychology of hoarding and the claims of family, as well as sustainability, news, rebellion and autarky, or self-sufficiency.
If all of this is too cerebral for you - just read it for the entertainment value
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