Hoarding is a psychological disease that conscripts the afflicted into a self-created squalor. Hoarders compulsively accumulate valueless items and refuse to throw away any junk because they believe the items will be needed or will have value in the future. Hoarding often creates such unfit living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. In the context of E.L. Doctorow's marvelous new book this behavior seems completely logical.
The Collyer Brothers are the last droplets of a blue blood line. The duo comes of age during the tectonic shift from stuffy Victorian culture to the modern era, forced abruptly into adulthood by the early death of their aristocratic parents. In order to have some control over the rapidly shape-shifting culture, the two men, mostly Langley, aggregate the ephemera and symbols of material ...
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