Skip to navigation Skip to content

Abbey’s Book Review: Homer and Langley

Abbeys Book Review Homer and Langley Abbeys Book Review: Homer and Langley  Homer and Langley
by E.L. Doctorow

The two brothers of this new novel by the acclaimed author of Ragtime and Welcome to Hard Times inhabit a vast mansion on ritzy Fifth Avenue overlooking New York’s Central Park, bequeathed to them by their parents along with a sizable amount of money.

They live their increasingly eccentric lives in this uncomfortable house, not feeling the need to work, as it fills with piles of papers and magazines, gathered by Langley as he researches the possibility of producing a timeless, never out of date newspaper.  He is an avid hoarder of things that might just come in useful one day and gleanings from his raids on junk shops fill every room in the house until it becomes necessary to fight your way down narrow pathways to get around. A model T Ford occupies one room, dripping oil.

Homer who has become blind accepts his disability almost with gratitude and, although his brother tries various ‘alternative’ cures in the hope of restoring his sight, is quite serene to remain as he is.  He plays the piano by day and by night the brothers roam the nightclubs of the city innocently befriending gangsters, a black jazz musician and a group of hippies, grateful for a free place to flop.

The years roll by, the war comes and the brothers do their bit in their inimitable way.  They become increasing isolated as stiff necked civic authorities close in on them and the neighbours object to their very different lifestyle.

This is a book about tolerance and caring for others and is at times a sad and melancholy book.  But, in spite of the sombre mood that prevails at times, there is plenty of humour and the characters that come and go through its pages are lovingly described and memorable. There is a real sense of devastation as the final page of this outstanding book is reached. Homer and Langley is a book based on a couple of real life eccentrics and Doctorow brings them to life in this truly original novel.

This book review was provided by Peter Smith at Abbey’s Bookshop, which is located just across the Pyrmont Bridge from Pyrmont, at 131 York Street Sydney NSW 2000, Phone: (02) 9264 3111 or 1800 4 BOOKS (1800 426 657), Email:

To purchase the book online, visit

Price: $29.99
Format: paperback
Pages: 224
Category: Fiction

What's next?

  • Digg it
  • Save this page
  • Stumble this
  • Subscribe to Pyrmont Village
  • Leave a comment
  • Subscribe to our newsletter

    Receive the latest local offers from Pyrmont businesses in your inbox once a month.

Comments are closed.

Search Pyrmont Village