Fading Fast

Connoisseur
As is your way, another very detailed and informative book review, written in a style that grabs the readers attention and hold onto it to the very end. I have but a single question for which my mind literally itches for an answer. In completing Ann Veronica, it appears that HG Wells has extended his writing pen way beyond the limits of his vocational wheelhouse. Is my fevered mind deceiving me or would you agree with my perception(s)? Thank you again for a great review. ;)
Like you, I was surprised when, a few years back, I discovered Wells who, as you imply, is best known for his science fiction writing, was insanely prolific and wrote on many topics beyond science fiction.

While I tend not to agree with his philosophy, I really enjoy his writing.

Ann Veronica was my third non-Sci-Fi Wells book.

These are the other two not-Sci-Fi books of his that I've read: #793 and #652
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
This past week I finished reading author Dan Brown's novel "Origin." For the Dan Brown enthusiasts among us who have enjoyed Brown's books The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, etc. The Origin will also be a winner for you. Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire Computer Scientist/Futurist who has been long studying the age old evolutionary questions; "Where did we come from(?)" and "Where are we going(?)". Kirsch is making a presentation to announce a new discovery that promises answers to these questions and will forever settle the ongoing debate between Earths Creationist and those ever lovable Darwin hugger's , the Evolutionists. Kirsch is assassinated in the middle of his presentation and before he can announce his myth shattering discovery and it appears an extreme faction of the Catholic Church may have been responsible.

However, be careful about jumping to those all too convenient conclusions...at one advanced point in his presentation Edmond Kirsch prayed for the future, stating "May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear be our engine of change!" Edmond Kirsch is an atheist, not a Christian; he is an evolutionist, not a creationist. Having said that, I will tell you no more about the book, but will offer a long standing and in the present instance a very prudent caution..."be careful what you wish for, because you may find it!" Read the book, as it is a great read! ;)
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
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Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow

This E. L. Doctorow effort is kinda sorta a trip through the first-three quarters of the 20th century seen through the eyes of two reclusive and wealthy brothers - one blind, who narrates, and one a WWI veteran with damaged lungs and a damaged psyche owing to enduring a gas attack in the trenches.

Homer and Langley Collyer are the sons of a well-to-do and socially prominent physician, but the loss of sight for teenage Homer, the aforementioned WWI scars for Langley and the early death of their parents left these two boys adrift and alienated in the world. Had they not inherited sufficient funds to free them from work, reality might have forced a normalcy on them, but instead, these two examples of the broken idle rich became, over time, quasi-reclusive hoarders.

From their Fifth Avenue mansion, we see these young men partake in the speakeasy party culture of the twenties, even meeting an up-and-coming gangster who rewards their friendship with a gift of champagne and hookers for the evening. The gifts, despite some compunction, were accepted. Blind Homer, in particular, deeply enjoyed the prostitute as he did his first sexual experience, years earlier, with the family's Irish maid.

During the Depression of the thirties, the boys see the labor protests and encampments of homeless men living in Central Park right outside their mansion's front door. After that, it's on to World War II where Homer, who has made a remarkable adjustment to his blindness, feels his disability greatly for one of the first times as he can make no contribution to the war effort. Conversely, his brother's always-present bitterness toward the world grows with the onset of another global war.

After the war, whose end provides hoarder Langley with an opportunity to stuff the house full of military surplus, the fifties finds the boys more isolated. In the funniest scene in the novel, these two oddballs become hostages to the gift-giving mobster of the twenties when he uses their house, by force, as a hideout for several days while he recovers from a bullet wound received in a failed hit attempt. After a day or so, the gangsters stop guarding the boys as they realize these nutjobs are no threat to them, so everyone goes about their days as if the mobsters and Collyer brothers just happen to be living together.

With Langley's hoarding increasing - he gets on jags for everything from typewriters to art supplies to a Model T and, always, newspapers - and with their bill paying further in arrears - owing to some quirky principle, not because of lack of funds - the house deteriorates to a state many would find unlivable. But the boys persevere into the sixties, even taking in several hippies during the Summer of Love in a quirky moment of Roaring Twenties outcasts meet Flower Power children.

After a sexual encounter for Homer with one of the free-love young-women guests, the coming cold weather sees the departure of their hippie friends.Then, it's the seventies, a further decline in the house, especially when the power and water are cut off as the boys continue to refuse, on principle, to pay their bills. A brief period of unwanted media notoriety follows, then finally, the inevitable passing of the brothers.

So what is it all about? On one level, as noted, it's a trip through the 20th century as seen through the eyes of two outcasts who are less-naive Forrest Gumps. It can also be seen as broken people being the ones who see the insanity of the world, but there's also a cheapness to this sentiment as we all are, for example, against war and hate to see young men (and women, today) die in battle, but sentiment won't stop the Hitlers and Stalins of the world.

More narrowly, it's a contrast of a man damaged by failing genes causing a loss of sight being more normal than his brother who was damaged physically and mentally in war. While it appears Langley is taking care of his blind brother, one feels blind Homer could have found a more-normal place in the world - a job (he's a talented pianist) and wife would have made him happy - but he knew his brother needed to take care of him. So, counterintuitively, it is the war-damaged brother who was emotionally dependent on the blind brother.

Maybe it's about hoarders as the junk collectors of our culture - or some such college-term-paper stuff. Or perhaps it simply adds up to a commentary on the absurdity of life. Doctorow is a talented enough author to pull this peculiar novel off, but he's written much better books.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
View attachment 56554
Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow

This E. L. Doctorow effort is kinda sorta a trip through the first-three quarters of the 20th century seen through the eyes of two reclusive and wealthy brothers - one blind, who narrates, and one a WWI veteran with damaged lungs and a damaged psyche owing to enduring a gas attack in the trenches.

Homer and Langley Collyer are the sons of a well-to-do and socially prominent physician, but the loss of sight for teenage Homer, the aforementioned WWI scars for Langley and the early death of their parents left these two boys adrift and alienated in the world. Had they not inherited sufficient funds to free them from work, reality might have forced a normalcy on them, but instead, these two examples of the broken idle rich became, over time, quasi-reclusive hoarders.

From their Fifth Avenue mansion, we see these young men partake in the speakeasy party culture of the twenties, even meeting an up-and-coming gangster who rewards their friendship with a gift of champagne and hookers for the evening. The gifts, despite some compunction, were accepted. Blind Homer, in particular, deeply enjoyed the prostitute as he did his first sexual experience, years earlier, with the family's Irish maid.

During the Depression of the thirties, the boys see the labor protests and encampments of homeless men living in Central Park right outside their mansion's front door. After that, it's on to World War II where Homer, who has made a remarkable adjustment to his blindness, feels his disability greatly for one of the first times as he can make no contribution to the war effort. Conversely, his brother's always-present bitterness toward the world grows with the onset of another global war.

After the war, whose end provides hoarder Langley with an opportunity to stuff the house full of military surplus, the fifties finds the boys more isolated. In the funniest scene in the novel, these two oddballs become hostages to the gift-giving mobster of the twenties when he uses their house, by force, as a hideout for several days while he recovers from a bullet wound received in a failed hit attempt. After a day or so, the gangsters stop guarding the boys as they realize these nutjobs are no threat to them, so everyone goes about their days as if the mobsters and Collyer brothers just happen to be living together.

With Langley's hoarding increasing - he gets on jags for everything from typewriters to art supplies to a Model T and, always, newspapers - and with their bill paying further in arrears - owing to some quirky principle, not because of lack of funds - the house deteriorates to a state many would find unlivable. But the boys persevere into the sixties, even taking in several hippies during the Summer of Love in a quirky moment of Roaring Twenties outcasts meet Flower Power children.

After a sexual encounter for Homer with one of the free-love young-women guests, the coming cold weather sees the departure of their hippie friends.Then, it's the seventies, a further decline in the house, especially when the power and water are cut off as the boys continue to refuse, on principle, to pay their bills. A brief period of unwanted media notoriety follows, then finally, the inevitable passing of the brothers.

So what is it all about? On one level, as noted, it's a trip through the 20th century as seen through the eyes of two outcasts who are less-naive Forrest Gumps. It can also be seen as broken people being the ones who see the insanity of the world, but there's also a cheapness to this sentiment as we all are, for example, against war and hate to see young men (and women, today) die in battle, but sentiment won't stop the Hitlers and Stalins of the world.

More narrowly, it's a contrast of a man damaged by failing genes causing a loss of sight being more normal than his brother who was damaged physically and mentally in war. While it appears Langley is taking care of his blind brother, one feels blind Homer could have found a more-normal place in the world - a job (he's a talented pianist) and wife would have made him happy - but he knew his brother needed to take care of him. So, counterintuitively, it is the war-damaged brother who was emotionally dependent on the blind brother.

Maybe it's about hoarders as the junk collectors of our culture - or some such college-term-paper stuff. Or perhaps it simply adds up to a commentary on the absurdity of life. Doctorow is a talented enough author to pull this peculiar novel off, but he's written much better books.
I'll put this one on the list to be read, but it's going to be a bit down on the list! Got a lot of good books waiting on the bookshelves and calling my name...I can't believe I have five Baldacci books I have yet to read? In any event, thanks for another great and persuasive review. ;)
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
I'll put this one on the list to be read, but it's going to be a bit down on the list! Got a lot of good books waiting on the bookshelves and calling my name...I can't believe I have five Baldacci books I have yet to read? In any event, thanks for another great and persuasive review. ;)
It's a peculiar book. I did enjoy it, but I get that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. No reason to rush to read.
 
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