Pete Hamill’s novel, “North River,” Is not what I would consider “HIGH LITERATURE.” It is not the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Conrad, Joyce, Toni Morrison, or the poets Byron and Yeats who Mr. Hamill mentions throughout the book. (Byron is my favorite poet of all times, and Yeats is my favorite poet of the 20th.)
Mr. Hamill’s novel is nevertheless the most enjoyable novel I have read this year. “The Code Breaker” was the most important book I have read this year, followed by at least four David Halberstam’s books. Mr. Hamill, in my opinion, knows more about the entire city of New York than any other writer I have read, Including James Baldwin, Capote, and Dos Passos.
At the very heart of “North River,” is a love story between an Irish American doctor, and a veteran of World War 1, and an Sicilian immigrant. It is also a love story about a grandpa and his grandson, a love story about a doctor and his love for the neighborhood he lives and practices in and the ethnic diversity of the city.
The ‘North River,’ is actually a part of the Hudson River and across from this part of the river is where General George Washington and his army had to cross to escape to New Jersey before the British wiped them out. I have no doubt, that President Washington would have loved this book because it is about the unselfish nature of Americans from all over the world, and the love for humanity and equal rights that he and his army fought so gallantly for to give to all Americans. His dream is still not fully realized but hopefully we are getting there. I highly, highly recommend this book.