From the bestselling author of Snow in August and A Drinking Life comes this magical, epic tale of an extraordinary man who arrives in New York City in 1740 and remains... forever.
Departing the shores of Ireland, Cormac O'Connor sets out on a fateful journey to avenge the deaths of his parents and honor the code of his ancestors. His quest brings him to the settlement of New York, seething with tensions between English and Irish, whites and blacks, British and "Americans," where he is swept up in a tide of conspiracy and violence. In return for aiding an African shaman who was brought to America in chains, Cormac is given an otherworldly gift: He will live foreveras long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan.
So unfolds the story of the intertwined lives of a man and a city. Cormac comes to know all the buried secrets of Manhattanthe way it has been shaped by greed, race, and waves of immigration, by the unleashing of enormous human energies, and above all, by hope. Through Cormac's eyes, we watch the city grow from a tiny community on the tip of an untamed wilderness to become the thriving metropolis of the present day.
A writer, a painter, and a man of sensual appetites, Cormac takes part in the dramas of his times through fat years and lean. He is an insurrectionist, abetting a slave revolt in the early days of the colony. He is a revolutionary, taking up arms in the war of independence. He is an activist, taking up pen to bear witness to social injustice. And he is a chronicler of Manhattan, from its great triumphs to its greatest catastrophe.
Through it all, Cormac must fight, generation after generation, a force of evil that returns relentlessly in the scions of a single family. It is a family whose path first crossed his in Ireland and whose persistence puts at risk all his hopes for fulfilling his destiny. As he searches out these blood enemies, he must watch everyone he touches slip away: the men at whose side he has fought, the friends he has treasured, the women he has loved. And so he seeks the one who can change his fate, the mysterious dark lady who alone can free him from the blessing and the curse of his long life.
Drawing on Pete Hamill's bone-deep knowledge of New York Cityits history, its neighborhoods, its people, its ever-changing varietyForever is his long-awaited masterpiece, a Shakespearean evocation of the mysteries of time and death, sex and love, character and place. It is both an unforgettable drama and a timeless triumph of storytelling.
Veteran journalist/novelist Pete Hamill composes a fantastical ode to the city that never sleeps.
The book's central conceit could almost have come from the pages of Twain or Bellamy, but Hamill pulls his story fiercely into the present by centering the final phase of Cormac's narrative on the World Trade Center attacks themselves.
Washington Post Book World
Hamill's long history as a New York journalist, his knowledgeable love for the city and his writerly exuberance explode here into a New York fantasy big, extravagant, untrammeled and as hugely readable as it must have been hugely entertaining to write.
This rousing, ambitious work is beautifully woven around historical events and characters, but it is Hamill's passionate pursuit of justice and compassion....that distinguishes this tale of New York City and its myriad peoples.
A true Hamill piece by turns fascinating, sentimental, hackneyed, and provincial in the best New York mode. It won't play in Poughkeepsie, but there are plenty of New Yorkers (and New York-ophiles) who will love it.
Booklist - Brad Hooper
Hamill writes with great detail, which adds texture and spice to, rather than impeding, the narrative's swift movement. As always, he is perfectly enjoyable to read for his great felicity of style (obviously derived from his years as a journalist) as well as his originality of plot. This absolutely embracing novel is certain to hit the best-seller lists.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
A great read! A novel twisted with much historical fact...I only wish that my grammar school text books were this interesting...I would have done much better in history! Aside from the story, I learned much about the history of Manhattan, the... Read More
From Ragtime and Billy Bathgate to The Book of Daniel, Worlds Fair, and The March, the novels of E. L. Doctorow comprise one of the most substantive achievements of modern American fiction. Now, with Homer & Langley, this master novelist has once again created an unforgettable work.
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