Stories of recluses have an endless fascination for most people – and here is a whole gallery of them. These hermits seem to have been timid and inoffensive people, usually of superior intelligence, and a great deal of their fascination lies in the atmosphere of decay in which they led completely self-contained lives, resenting any intrusion on their privacy. As each one died, usually in some miserable way brought about by his own seclusion, his belongings, hoarded with all the miser’s mania, yet ravaged by time and neglect, presented an extraordinary spectacle.
Of the recluses in this gallery, none were needy, nor did they withdraw to pray for themselves or anyone else. They bolted the doors and drew the blinds because of family feuds, broken hearts, domineering parents, the death of loved ones, or in expiation of crime. Their stories are always extraordinary, and that of the wealthy Collyer brothers, who lived alone together surrounded by dark legends and an age-old collection of rubbish into which they tunnelled and at last died, is surely unique.
There is a curious drama in these twisted lives which finally inspires something of compassion in the beholder.
The dust jacket suffers from some tears and chips, as pictured. Some foxing to pages. Binding remains sound. Unusual title.