Forever Review
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I’m a huge fan of historical fiction. I figure if I’m going to put the time into reading something, I’d like to get something out of it. And this book did not disappoint me—I absolutely loved it.

Starting out in 1740 Ireland, Cormac O’Connor learned about the Gaelic religion, myth, and language from his father; in fact, they belonged to a secret Celtic tribe. At 16, Cormac follows an English earl to America to avenge the deaths of his parents. On the ship overseas, Cormac befriends an African slave named Kongo. Taken to a cave by Kongo after being wounded in a rebellion against the British, Cormac is granted eternal life and youth by a dead African priestess—as long as he doesn’t leave the island of Manhattan. But is this a gift or a curse? And will Cormac choose to end it? And what about his Celtic beliefs? Can they survive in the new America?

  
 
This book is more of the story of New York than it is about Cormac O’Connor. But it’s through Cormac that we’re able to follow 300 years of history, some of which Cormac plays a part, some of which he’s merely an observer. African and Irish slavery, uprisings, revolutions, immigration—this book has it all, ending after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

The historical details of a New York growing from a small settlement to a world metropolis are rich and resonant. The events and characters are clear. And if you pay close attention, you’ll learn about the slang “horseshit” and “bullshit,” and the difference between the two, and maybe you—like me—will say, “Wow. I didn't know that.” There’s something for everyone here, guaranteed.

I usually circulate my books to others when I finish them but this one's a keeper, having earned a permanent place in my bookcase.

Forever was written by Pete Hamill, the author of the best-selling novel Snow in August and the best-selling memoir A Drinking Life. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and lives in New York City.

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