Homer & Langley: A Novel by E. L. Doctorow

By E. L. Doctorow

From Ragtime and Billy Bathgate to The publication of Daniel, World’s Fair, and The March, the novels of E. L. Doctorow contain the most considerable achievements of recent American fiction. Now, with Homer & Langley, this grasp novelist has once more created an unforgettable work.

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers–the one blind and deeply intuitive, the opposite broken into insanity, or maybe greatness, by means of mustard gasoline within the nice warfare. They stay as recluses of their as soon as grand 5th street mansion, scavenging town streets for issues they believe they could use, hoarding the day-by-day newspapers as examine for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage should be as prophecy. but the epic occasions of the century play out within the lives of the 2 brothers–wars, political events, technological advances–and even if they wish not anything greater than to close out the area, historical past turns out to go through their cluttered condominium within the individuals of immigrants, prostitutes, society girls, govt brokers, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they fight to outlive and create which means for themselves.

Brilliantly conceived, gorgeously written, this spell binding narrative, a unfastened resourceful rendering of the lives of latest York’s fabled Collyer brothers, is a family members tale with the resonance of fable, an astounding masterwork not like any that experience come sooner than from this nice author.

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29 Louis knew how upset his mother would be about his trying to cross the river on a night like this. His mother had begged his father to stop carrying slaves across the river. ” “My father isn’t here,” Louis said. “There’s ice on the river and the wind is strong. ” “No water’s too cold and no wind is too strong for us, child,” Sarah said. “We already crossed two rivers, but the Detroit River is freedom’s river. It’s our last chance. Our master sold away these children’s daddy. They were going to sell away Tyler just like he was no different from a horse or a cow.

Lucy hugged his leg. The two boys shook hands. “I’ll come over this summer and we’ll get us a sturgeon,” Louis promised. Then Louis left them to their new freedom. 44 The cold wind stung his face. Over and over Louis had to break the ice with his paddle. His hands were so cold he could hardly hold the oars. The boat was lighter now and easier to row. It was also a lot easier to be afraid when you were alone. He wished Tyler were there. To keep himself company he began to sing, Keep me from sinkin’ down.

Whitefish, herring, perch, sturgeon. ” 41 “That’s a big fish. You got to be strong to catch it. You got to be smart to catch a catfish. ” The wind was against them and the ice was thickening. For every foot they gained, the boat seemed to slip back a foot into the black water. Louis had never been so cold. He wished he could ask his papa if he had done the right thing to risk their lives. Sarah began to sing and the children joined her. 42 O Lord, O my Lord, keep me from sinkin’ down I tell you what I mean to do Keep me from sinkin’ down Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down Keep me from sinkin’ down Sometimes I’m almost on the ground Keep me from sinkin’ down I look up yonder and what do I see?

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