The Collectors, by Matt Bell
by Jeremiah Chamberlin
In both of the recent New York Times reviews of E.L. Doctorow’s new novel, Homer & Langley, which is based on the lives of the Collyer brothers, the reviewers go out of their way to point to other works drawn from the lives of these eccentric, hoarding bachelor shut-ins: Marcia Davenport’s My Brother’s Keeper, Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle, Franz Lidz’s Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers and My Uncle Arthur, New York’s Greatest Hoarders, and a variety of other books, films, plays, and TV shows. In short: we are obsessed with the obsessed. Nowhere is this clearer than in Matt Bell’s The Collectors, which is also based on the lives of the Collyer brothers, and deserves to be added to this canon.