Monday, February 28, 2011

Forever by Pete Hamill

Summary: Cormac O'Connor, who arrives in New York City from Ireland in 1741, has been given the gift of immortality--but only on the condition that he never leave the island of Manhattan. Through his eyes, this magical epic follows the city's transformation from a burgeoning settlement to the thriving metropolis of the present day.This widely praised bestseller is the magical, epic tale of an extraordinary man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains . . . forever. Through the eyes of young Cormac O'Connor -- granted immortality as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan -- we watch New York grow from a tiny settlement on the tip of an untamed wilderness to the thriving metropolis of today. And through Cormac's remarkable adventures in both love and war, we come to know all the city's buried secrets -- the way it has been shaped by greed, race, and waves of immigration, by the unleashing of enormous human energies, and, above all, by hope.


My Review: I picked this book up at the recommendation of a bookseller  at my Borders store. He and I tend to enjoy the same books, so I trusted him when he recommended this Pete Hamill book to me. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, although it seemed to drag in some places.

You follow Cormac O'Connor from a young boy in Ireland in the 1730s up to 2001. You see him emigrate across the ocean and start a life for himself, and then also see New York City start it's life. You are able to see New York while it is a small town, founded by the Dutch and home to many Tories during the American Revolution. We see Cormac fight in the Revolution, meeting George Washington, seeing the Blacks and the Irish try to overthrow the British. You are able to see New York in the Tammany Hall era, where corruption was king. You are able to see New York through centuries, all the eyes of Cormac, all the way up to September 11th. 

Overall, I found Forever to be an enjoyable read, one where I was whisked back to a time and place that cannot be recaptured, and much of which was burned to the ground. It did drag in some places, and whenever a new section started, it was difficult to figure out what era you were in. If you enjoy Wally Lamb books, I would definitely recommend this book to you. Rich with details, background, and characters, it's something that will devour you once you start.

My Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

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