Took forever to finish this because it moves so slowly and gets really tedious, but it's one of those "gotta read it" because of the author kind of books. It's the story of two brothers who live in NYC in a house on upper 5th Ave that deteriorates over the years as they do. One brother is half crazy, the other, who tells the story, is blind. Doctorow uses words like an artist uses a paintbrush and it's amazing how he conveys images through a blind man. It reads like a personal memoir and is hard to read much at one sitting. The ending is disturbing and I won't reveal it, but after a couple hundred pages of routine life stories, it was a shocker I will not forget for a while.