Reading guide for Forever by Pete Hamill

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by Pete Hamill

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2002, 320 pages
    Nov 2003, 640 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Cormac O'Connor is given the opportunity of a lifetime--to life forever. Before he's actually granted immortality, Kongo insists that Cormac "must truly live," not "simply exist." Does Cormac fulfill that mandate? Given Cormac's experience, would you choose to live forever?

  2. With Cormac's arrival in Manhattan, we see that ethnic diversity is a predominant feature in eighteenth-century New York. The city is a cultural meeting place for British colonists, African slaves, and Irish immigrants, to name a few groups. In what ways do these groups come into conflict with one another? In what ways do they live side by side harmoniously?

  3. Cormac participates in some of the key events in the founding of the American republic. Yet after centuries in Manhattan, Cormarc still does "not exactly think of himself as an America, but he was definitely a New Yorker" (page 404). What does he mean by that?

  4. New York City is as much a character in the novel as any of the people Cormac meets, and he has the opportunity to see the city change through the centries. How does New York grow alongside Cormac? What are your impressions of New York City after reading the book?

  5. The relationship between Cormac O'Connor and Mary Morrigan begins in the summers when Cormac is learning the Celtic traditions. Describe this unique relationship. How does it color Cormac's future interactions with women?

  6. When Cormac's mother is killed, Cormac's father begins to forge a sword. After his father's death, Cormac vows to seek revenge according to the Celtic code. What do you think of the acts of violence Cormac commits in the name of this vow? How do you account for the choice he makes when he meets the last of the Warren heirs? Is it possible to maintain honor while seeking vengeance?

  7. Cormac and Kongo meet under horrific circumstances and initially have no common language. Yet they forge an unusually strong bond. What is the basis of their mutual understanding? What role does each play in the life of the other?

  8. Over the years, many women pass through Cormac's life, yet he becomes emotionally involved with only a few. Who are the women Cormac loves? What impact does his relationship with each of them have on him?

  9. Cormac comes into contact with people from many different religious backgrounds-from pagans and mystics to Jews, Catholics and Protestants-throughout his epic journey. Describe the ways in which adherents of various faiths affect Cormac's life. How does religious belief in general influence his actions? Does his view of religion change over the course of the book?

  10. After three centuries, Cormac finally faces the choice of entering the otherworld and being reunited with his family or staying with Delfina and his unborn child. Do you think Cormac makes the right decision? Why? What decision would you have made in his place?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.