Brilliant brothers Langley and Homer Collyer are born into bourgeois New York comfort, their home a mansion on upper Fifth Avenue, their future rosy. But before he is out of his teens Homer begins to lose his sight, Langley returns from the war with his lungs seared by gas, and when both of their parents die, they seem perilously ill-equipped to deal with the new era. As romantic Homer and eccentric Langley construct a life on the fringes of society, they hold fast to their principle of self-reliance. But they are mocked and spied on, and despite wanting thing more than to shut out the world, the epic events of the century flow through their housebound lives as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.
E. L. Doctorow's novels include Andrew's Brain, Homer and Langley, The March, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate and The Waterworks. Among his honours are the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. He died in July 2015.