The New Doctorow

The fall book season is opening with a disappointed sigh, as the consumer reviews appear for E. L. Doctorow’s Homer and Langley. Rather than sharpening their knives with glee, the critics sound gently disappointed.

The prepub reviews were more positive (with the exception of Kirkus); Booklist starred it; LJ found it “Doctorow in a minor key but as accomplished as ever.”

Libraries are generally showing fewer holds than copies on order (a few have received their copies).

In the LA Times, David Ulin offers one of the the more thoughtful reviews, summing it up with, “…terrific writing, but as Doctorow himself has acknowledged, terrific writing is not enough.”

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani calls it “…a depressing tale of two shut-ins who withdrew from life to preside over their own ‘kingdom of rubble.” (the book is loosely based on the story of the Collyer brothers, famous for never throwing anything away. One of them was literally crushed to death by the resulting rubble; the other brother, who was blind, starved to death, waiting for his brother to bring him food.)

On the other hand, People magazine gives it 3.5 of a possible 4 stars, calling it a “…powerful study in how living on society’s margins can provide remarkable insights into what happens at its center.”

Homer & Langley: A Novel
E.L. Doctorow
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1400064945 / 9781400064946

Also in audio from Random House Audio:

Unabridged edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0739334166
ISBN-13: 978-0739334164
  • Unabridged edition, (September 1, 2009); ISBN-13: 978-0739334164; $32

And in large type:

  • Large Print, (September 1, 2009); ISBN-13: 978-073932867; $26

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