Cleopatra and her Asp
3 September 2011
7 September 2011

One Book, One Library, One Fabulous Discussion


The Cornell Reading Project comes to the American Library! Join us in discussing this year’s pick,  E.L. Doctorow’s Homer and Langley, a fictionalized account of the lives of the renowned Collyer brothers, whose story became a New York urban legend. After their parents’ death in the flu pandemic of 1918, the young men compiled a world of their own, apart from but intimately and paradoxically connected with the transformative events of the twentieth-century. Director Charles Trueheart and Library book group leaders will moderate a discussion of the book at 19h30 on Thursday 6 October.

But first, read the book. A limited number of copies are currently available courtesy of our co-sponsor, the Cornell Club of France.

Inside the 5th avenue home of Homer and Langley Collyer in 1947

Inside the 5th avenue home of Homer and Langley Collyer in 1947

“Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers—the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers—wars, political movements, technological advances—and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.”

–from the Random House Trade Paperback edition

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