E. L. Doctorow has written a novel based on the legend of the Collyer brothers of New York City. It is not based on the known historical facts of Homer Lusk Collyer and Langley Collyer. The legend has given Doctorow the freedom to go wherever his two main characters lead him in his forgiving, gentle account of the socially and emotionally troubled brothers.
The brothers were hoarders, recluses, and paranoid, and that is perhaps only scratching the surface. They attracted reporters and writers during their lifetime and death has been no hinderance to that interest. They proved brothers can not hide when they live in a large Fifth Avenue New York City mansion, and they cause people to speculate on their wealth. A rundown house in rural Alabama is a better location for recluses looking for success.
Don’t burden your reading of Homer & Langley by first checking on the historical facts. Read it for the pleasure it has to offer; after the book, look up the historical facts at WikipediA under Collyer brothers. The facts after reading the novel are an interesting counterpoint.
No one will ever know the full story of the brothers as the details of their lives were smothered in the 136 tons of junk and waste taken out of their residence. Nor can hoarders’ clutter speak to relationships. Clutter is the absence of relationships. Charles Marlin