Sunday, March 06, 2011

10. Forever by Pete Hamill

I loved Pete Hamill's North River, but was very disappointed with The Gift.  Still I had high hopes for Forever because it had such an interest premise.  Cormac O'Connor is a young man growing up in Ireland in the early 1700's.  His father is a blacksmith and his mother tells him beautiful stories and surrounds him with love.  His world is rocked when the mother throws herself in front of the Earl's carriage to save Cormac's life.  Several years later, his father is killed by the Earl's henchman because the Earl want his horse.  Cormac swears vengeance against the Earl, to kill him and any children he may have.  He follows the Earl to New York City where he becomes involved with the Irish community as well as a burgeoning black community.  During an uprising, Cormac is given the gift of eternal life as long as he remains on the island on Manhattan or until he meets a woman with spirals on her body.  So we get to see the growth of New York from a village to the a modern-day metropolis through the eyes of a Cormac, who never dies.  I was really intrigued by this storyline when I bought the book but became disappointed the more I read.  The first quarter of the book takes place in Ireland, then follows Cormac to America.  It describes 1730's New York, a bit of the Revolutionary War on the island, jumps ahead to the 1840's, then a bit about Boss Tweed and ends with modern Manhattan.  I know it couldn't follow everything that happened in the growth of the city, but I found these choices a bit odd, even though there was some interesting history included.  And there was way too much time wasted on sexual exploits.  I do think Hamill is a gifted writer in the pictures he builds through his words, and I liked the way the story ended; but the first quarter of the book and the last two pages didn't make up for the rest of the story which just did not satisfy me.  Rating:  3


  1. A shame to have an author you've enjoyed before not live up to your expectations. I can always do without sexual exploits...not sure what that says about me, but too much can spoil a book for me.

  2. hm, I have North River by him, so at least that is good. One day I might even read it!

  3. Kailana, North River has too much sex in it as well, but I really did enjoy the story.