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moving under skies

NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy:  you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com. 

Homer & Langley

Homer & Langley - E.L. Doctorow

I am a big fan of roughly half of Doctorow's work. Though this one started with a sense of greatness, ultimately it falls in line with the least favored half of his oeuvre for me. Like several others reviewers, I was disenchanted by Doctorow's blatant changes to the Collyer brothers' story. The truth has enough pathos--I don't think Doctorow needed to distort it to make his telling a captivating one. I also often had a sneaking feeling that the book had multiple small continuity slip-ups, as when the blind narrator Homer frequently describes visual scenes in abundant detail, or when now-deaf Homer mentions sounds. These issues can be rationalized a few times--maybe Langely told Homer what something looked like down to every sumptuous detail--but recurring as they do they add up. Doctorow can be a fantastic writer, but in this one he doesn't seem to be achieving either his full potential or the potential of his story.