Sean too leaves New York for Ireland, where he is caught up in the lives of people who not only know all about Michael Corrigan but have a score to settle. As his connection to his uncle grows stronger, he realizes that within the tattered journal he carries lies the story of his own life—his past as well as his future—and the key to finding the one woman he is fated to love forever.
With the appeal of The Time Traveler’s Wife and the classic Time and Again, this novel is a romance cloaked in mystery and suspense that takes readers inside the rich heritage of Irish history and faith. Until the Next Time is a remarkable story about time and memory and the way ancient myths affect everything—from what we believe to who we love.
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Until the Next Timea novel
By Kevin Fox
Algonquin Books of Chapel HillCopyright © 2012 Kevin Fox
All right reserved.
JULY 5, 1996
"Read this," my father said as he tossed a leather-bound journal at my chest, trying to catch me by surprise. He did. Not because he woke me up at 6 a.m. but because he was actually giving me something. Aidan Corrigan wasn't exactly a hands-on, doting father. He believed children learned survival skills by surviving. Surviving him, mostly. I looked at the book with its yellow dog-eared pages. It smelled musty.
"What is this?" I was still half asleep, and I was asking the question in a general sense, meaning: "What the hell are you doing in my bedroom before the sun is up with a musty-smelling piece-of-shit book?" He took it literally, as always.
"Wha's it look like? You never seen a book before? It's a feckin' birthday present. What'd you expect, hookers and tequila?" He snarled, always the sentimental old man. I hated the way he slipped into a bogus brogue when he cursed. The only brogue he'd ever heard was secondhand, from his father, Jim Corrigan. And even my grandfather did his best to lose his accent as soon as he got to America. They all did. Back then, speaking with a brogue wasn't sexy or cute, and it didn't win you the hearts of women. If you spoke with a brogue, people assumed you lacked an education, money, and common sense. Most of the time they were right on all three counts.
Unfortunately, my grandfather's brother Sean (whom I was named after and who my grandfather came over to join as a partner in the creatively named Corrigan's Tavern) never lost his brogue. It may have cost him his life. Great-uncle Sean arrived here in 1921 when he was just sixteen, running from the original Troubles, I suppose. He never quite outran them, because on March 18, 1946, the morning after St. Patrick's Day, my father found him in the alley next to Corrigan's Tavern, the victim of an apparent mugging that turned violent. He was barely alive when they found him and only said one thing in Irish before he died. "Ni dhiolann dearmad fiacha," which translates as "A debt is still unpaid, even if forgotten." No one knew what it meant, but the police thought he probably owed the bookies some money. It was definitely possible.
The assumption was that after he locked up the bar, either the bookies showed up for something he owed them or someone pegged him as the owner by his brogue and tried to take the night's receipts. The strange part is that he had the cash in his pocket when they found him, a flask of whiskey by his hand, and his head propped on his coat. You would have thought he was peacefully sleeping off a "bout with the stout" if not for the hole in the back of his head. Maybe whoever tried to mug him was remorseful afterward, but it never made any sense to me.
Right now, neither did my father. He was still staring at me, waiting for me to say something about his sudden awareness of my birthday—a birthday I had forgotten myself. Well, maybe I hadn't quite forgotten it, but I certainly hadn't remembered it yet. Like I said, it was early, and last night's birthday celebration had only ended a couple of hours ago. My body's alcohol content was probably still over the legal limit, since I had been drinking to celebrate both being legal and to forget that my girlfriend, Sarah, had dumped me two weeks before. She was already dating some guy from Princeton, and I had seen her sticking her tongue in his ear at Conti's Pizza the night before. That's when the drinking started. Not that I ever liked her tongue in my ear—I just liked the idea of it in someone else's ear even less.
The way my father was staring at me was giving me a headache. To avoid the look, I opened the book, glancing through it as he lit his cigarette and flicked ashes on the floor, just like he always did right before he made an excuse to leave in order to avoid talking about anything real.
The pages of the book were worn and water-stained. The first page was headed "Notes for Dr. Sorenson," but Dr. Sorenson's name was crossed out, and next to it, someone had written "the Next Time" so that it now read "Notes for the Next Time." Every few pages was a dated entry. Inside the front cover was a name: Mike Corrigan.
"It's a journal," I muttered.
"Really? And your mother thinks you're stupid ..."
"Who's Mike Corrigan?"
He shrugged before I even finished asking, taking a long drag on his cigarette, as if he couldn't speak without smoke coating his vocal cords.
"You were named after him and your great-uncle. He was Michael Sean, and your great-uncle was Sean Michael. Names don't come from nowhere, boyo. He was my brother." As he said this, he stood up and was out the door before I could ask the question that kept repeating itself in my head: "What the fuck are you talking about?" I had no Uncle Mike. My father had no brother.
Shows you how much I knew. Shows you how easy it is to hide the past and change history when people refuse to remember. As I opened the journal once more, a newspaper clipping fluttered out. Dated December 10, 1973, it was a terse report concerning an American fugitive, Michael Corrigan, who was killed by MI5, the British Security Service. They thought he was working with the Provos, the Provisional IRA.
I felt like I was reading fiction as I went on, trying to focus on the faded type: "a former New York City police detective assigned to a joint federal task force investigating subversive groups up until the time he was arrested, accused of murdering a Negro civil rights worker in rural Pennsylvania. He fled from prosecution to Ireland earlier this year."
So. I had an uncle. I had an uncle who was an NYPD detective and killed by the British while working with the IRA, after he killed a black civil rights worker and fled the United States to hide in Ireland. And I had his journal in my hands. Fuck.
I started to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For Sean's 21st birthday he is given a very unusual gift from his father a journal written by his Uncle Michael who he did not even existed as he was dead before Sean was even born. This along with a paid airplane ticket and a nice bank account of money. After Sean finishes reading the journal he realizes he must head to Ireland to find out the truth about his uncle. He is taken on a journey and learns that his Uncle was accused of shooting a black civil rights leader in cold blood and then fleas to Ireland. He will discover that his Uncle joined the IRA and was later killed as a traitor. I found the story to be confusing as it goes from the present, to the past with people being reincarnated to other people. His language leaves much to be desired and think all of it was not necessary. When Sean investigates his Uncle Michaels past he learns more about his heritage, the relatives and the dangerous situations they faced. I was not impressed with the book as I found it too confusing and hard to concentrate on the different characters I found it too hard to read so not enjoyable to me.
I agree with the reviewer who found this book very confusing. There are many books out there which involve incarnation that are better written and have better story/character development. This one just fell flat. The first chapter was interesting but went down-hill from then on. It kept going back and forth between the present and the past. I found the characters were completely unlikeable. I forced myself to keep reading by by page 150, I just gave up. There are so many other book that I would rather devote my time to will delete this book.
When Sean Corrigan turns 21, his father gives him a journal and monetary inheritance from an uncle he never even knew anything about. The journal is puzzling, as is the true end to Uncle Michael. A trip to Ireland is in the cards, funded by the inheritance. Packed off with gifts for distance cousins, Sean heads across the ocean to Ireland and to the answers he seeks. Fox uses very rich writing to describe both time and historical place in this book. The wars that have waged in Ireland over the years get their due, as do present day animosities. I wholeheartedly bought into Fox's premise, with reincarnation as its' heart. Too much repetition and heavy handed foreshadowing left me wanting this to be a better book. Definitely worth the time spent, but even the ending was somewhat unsatisfying.
This is an Amazon Vine book that took me out of my comfort zone; it required me to fancy myself Irish and just accept what I read. If it hadn't contained such marvelous characters, I don't think I would have suspended disbelief so well but these characters have such depths to them that I'll be thinking about them for a long while.The story begins when Sean Corrigan, of New York, is given a journal kept by his father's brother Michael. Sean had never known about an Uncle Michael, but apparently his uncle had been a NY cop who ran to Ireland to escape a murder charge. As the story continues, Sean goes to Ireland to solve the mystery of what happened to his uncle there and meet the people who knew his uncle.Now it gets really intriguing and mysterious. Sean doesn't know what's going on half the time and I could only figure things out in retrospect in some cases. Still I was glued to the pages as I needed to find out. All I could do was settle in for a wild ride, particularly when Anne, the girl who is sent to pick Sean up at the airport, is driving. This girl is one of the most fascinating characters in the book, and her driving is absolutely insane.The beautifully described settings vary from lonely islands, one of which Sean's family owns, to city streets. The IRA is involved, the Troubles, killing of innocent people in the cause of a free Ireland, guns and money from the U.S., revenge killings, and the British fighting back. You will wonder throughout who is Declan? You will wonder what happens to Kate and Michael and Sean and Anne. And unfortunately if I tell you anymore I'll spoil the story for you.I'll have to be satisfied with saying that the story is very Irish, and that it is illogically logical. If you have "eyes that see and ears that hear", you will understand. I highly recommend this haunting book.
I enjoyed parts of ¿Until Next Time¿ ¿ but at the end of it ¿ wasn¿t completely sure what type of book I¿d just read. At times it felt like a romance, at times a treatise on religion & spirituality, and much of the time it was a political statement about the violent situation in Northern Ireland.As the subject danced around, so did the writing style. The book begins in the point of view of a young man named Sean. His voice comes across as belligerent, skeptical and far younger than one might expect. The style is choppy and sometimes seems very juvenile. As the book continues, though, he sometimes has thoughts that seem FAR more mature than he is. This voice is introspective, worldly and very wise ¿ and although the events of the story try to lay the groundwork for that change ¿ it feels off. He starts out the book with a variety of curses and complaints, and sounding like an aimless but angry teenager, but then less than halfway through, (and before any major changes) comes across sounding completely different.¿But even in that moment ¿ even as I thought about telling her how deeply I cared for her ¿ some part of me knew it wouldn¿t last. It wasn¿t that I regretted what happened, and I knew that I could probably spend years getting to know her, loving every moment. She was beautiful on every level, and I knew she would always challenge me. But it would never be complete. It would never feel as if I couldn¿t breathe without her next to me. It would always feel like she were standing in for someone else. Who that was, I didn¿t know yet, but I knew she was still out there somewhere, even in those first few moments with Anne.¿This is about a young woman who he just met¿1-2 days before?The one part of the book that will stay with me was the perspective on the Irish ¿ ways of life and loving and fighting. Part Irish myself, I appreciated phrases like; ¿Smiling women and singing children had perpetual tears in their eyes, as did the angry and defiant young men. The Irish character that I¿d seen and never understood my whole life was suddenly on the surface and visible here, tears and laughter so intertwined they were inseparable.¿That is beautifully written, and was more of the book similar to that; I would have enjoyed it more. But this mix of politics, romance, spirituality and violence just didn¿t capture me as much as I¿d hoped.
The back and forth from past to present makes this book interesting and captivating. A bitter sweet ending.
Excellent book. Great characters. You will fall in love with the characters in this book. They are not all nice people mind you. But they all have their reasons for what they do. Also, Ireland itself becomes a character. You will not be disappointed with this book.