A Novel

Book - 2003 | 1st ed.
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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. But this is also Cormac's story as he explores the mysteries of time and immortality, death and loss, sex and love.
Publisher: Boston : Little, Brown, c2003.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316341110
Branch Call Number: FIC HAMILL, P.
Characteristics: 613 p. ; 25 cm.


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Oct 01, 2020

I want to say I enjoyed this book. I really, really do.

I think the idea of the writing behind the book is magnificent. The idea that you, the reader, could watch New York grow up through a foreigner's eyes and experience events you might never have known about otherwise? So interesting.

The execution, however, was poor. While the characters were generally interesting and complex, that was about the only thing done right in this book. The author missed so many opportunities to really show off New York's history, to really explore themes of loss and transition and death. So many of these ideas seemed to start at the end of an era, and then die off before the reader could really get a glimpse into the deeper meaning behind them.

Much of Hamill's writing just falls flat, and so do the "lessons" he attempts to teach throughout the book. The first instance of this comes when he tries to convince the reader that indentured servitude is the same... as slavery.

Yes. Slavery.

You know indentured servitude? That voluntary transaction of services where one man/woman agrees to work for someone for a set period of time in exchange for passage to America? And you know slavery? That terrible act of oppression where people rip others from their friends and family to force them to perform involuntary, uncompensated labor for the rest of their lives? Hamill says these are the same thing. Several times.

Another thing about Hamill's writing that really doesn't sit well with me is the way he describes women all the way through the book. If I have to hear the word "full-breasted" to describe a woman that the main character plans on sleeping with one more time, I swear I will set this book on fire. And, not only are these descriptions of women very objectifying, they are llooonnnggg. There are multiple women throughout the book with over a paragraph of description, and that's on top of all of the other, smaller ways Hamill finds to remind you that: yes, this woman is sexy.

Finally, while this likely just ties in to my first point, Hamill spends so much (definitely too much) time describing Cormac's personal life. There are nearly 100 pages dedicated to watching him stay in a mansion, play the piano, and be sad. This time could've been used so much more effectively. To show off New York at this point in history, or actually observe the murder cases Cormac writes about for the newspaper. It was really disappointing that so much of the book was spent on personal revelations about water and love, when it could've been spent teaching the reader something they haven't heard a million times.

Oct 13, 2019

I loved this book! I grew up in New York and it reminded me of all the wonderful things I experienced there! Beautifully written!

May 04, 2019

New York City—well Manhattan island—from the 1740s to 2001 all through the eyes of Robert Conner, aka Cormac O’Conner and many other disguises, an Irish immigrant with vengeance in his heart and a ‘gift’ to live forever. His father’s sword, his mother’s spiral earrings and a befriended man named Kongo are never far from his thoughts, his actions and his reason to go on living.

I started reading 'Forever' on September 9, 2008, Robert’s birthday—and his lucky day according to his mother. Then I put aside until now having just read the elegiac 'Brooklyn' and chose this as nearly the last book read in 2009. When making my list of 2009 Best Books I almost put 'Tuck Everlasting.' Now I will, along with 'Forever.'

Jul 23, 2012

If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy Metropolis by Elizabeth Gaffney.

Mar 12, 2012

One of my favorite books ever. Magical but also historical, it is like you are there in New York 100 years ago or more.


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