OUT OF THIS WORLD by Helen Worden Erskine


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These accounts of recluses, past and present, and largely from the New York City area, have the fascination of the eccentric and the enigmatic and expose with as much compassion as curiosity the living suicide of a life behind drawn blinds and locked doors. As newspaper reporter, her hermit hunting took her to Harlem where in a bleak brownstone, stuffed with newspapers (and 14 pianos) Homer Collyer starved to death and Langley Collyer was smothered by a ton of trash. There's Ella Wendel, her fifty million dollars, and the white pdle she aired in a baby carriage; the Cuban mother, who with her daughter, retired to the seclusion of a hotel room where she ordered a cigar and dinner for her dead husband each night; Hetty Green's daughter- Mrs. Wilks, a bleak figure in black; A. Van Horne Stuyvesant, the last of a famous family, who spent his days sitting in front of a picture of Franklin D. Roosevelt which he cussed; the memorabilia of Miss Emily Thorn, which cost $2000 to cart away to the junkyard; these and others make up a curious file of sequestered souls who found a phantom existence preferable to the world they repudiated, and who provide here considerable (in) human interest.

Publisher: Putnam