homer & langley by e.l. doctorow

Homer & Langley is a novel by American author E. L. Doctorow published in September, 2009. It details the lives of the Collyer brothers, notorious for their eccentricities as well as their habit of compulsive hoarding.

This was a NPR Chapter A Day book. I caught bits and pieces of it so I decided to read the book and was not disappointed. I was not aware that this was based on a true story.

Homer and Langley  were wealthy, reclusive Manhattan pack rats who lived for decades in squalor in a Fifth Avenue brownstone and died within a maze of trash. After their deaths, in 1947, investigators had to break an upstairs window to get in. Digging through walls of clutter, they soon found Homer’s body, but it took weeks to locate Langley’s, which lay within 10 feet of his brother’s, crushed beneath a booby trap he’d set for prowlers. After both Collyers were extracted, more than 130 tons of refuse was removed from the building.

Here is a fascinating and detailed Wikipedia link with pictures. The Collyer brother's story inspired plays, novels, a radio program and a movie.

This book certainly makes me feel better and better about downsizing and trying to manage our stuff.

If you are interested there is a link to the right in the My Picks carousel.