Homer langley el doctorow homer langley is a novel by american author e l doctorow published in september 2009 it imagines a version of the lives of the collyer brothers of new york city notorious for their eccentricities as well as their habit of compulsively hoarding a plethora of various bric a brac newspapers books and other items. Homer and langley lost their parents in a tragic accident they were left to manage on their own langley went fight in world war i and was zapped with gas part of his disability was the effects of that experience langley was very paranoid and this paranoia grew as he aged doctorow nailed that part of his personality. Brothers homer and langley share a moneyed childhood in relative bliss although narrator homer is slowly going blind then both homers parents succumb to the spanish flu epidemic in 1918 shortly before older brother langley returns from service in world war i damaged by mustard gas. On page 76 homer talks about how things were for him when he and langley returned to the house after their night in jail he said this time marked the beginning of our abandonment of the outer world
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