This unforgettable novel tells the epic tale of an extraordinary Irishman who arrives in New York City in 1740 and remains... forever.
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.
And what a people loves it will defend.
We took their temples from them and forbade them,
for many years, to worship their strange idols.
They gathered in secret, deep in the dripping glens,
Chanting their prayers before a lichened rock.
- John Hewitt, "The Colony," 1950
There he is, three days after his fifth birthday, standing barefoot upon wet summer grass. He is staring at the house where he lives: the great good Irish place of whitewashed walls, long and low, with a dark slate roof glistening in the morning drizzle. Standing there, he knows it will turn pale blue when the sun appears to work its magic.
The boy named Robert Carson loves gazing at that house, basking in its permanence and comfort. On some days, a wisp of smoke rises from the chimney. On other days, the early morning sun throws a golden glaze upon its white facade. It is never the same and always the same. He sees the small windows like tiny eyes in the face of the house, the ...
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