This was a second reading after many years - and it didn't disappoint! While it's possible to sympathise with the predicament that led many Italian immigrants in the USA to set up mechanisms to protect themselves, their families, and their communities, once the Cos Nostra "families" descended into prostitution and drugs much of the sympathy inevitably evaporates. However, the story Puzo gives us is so believable, so riveting we cannot abandon it because of feelings of squeamishness at the violence and double-dealing involved. This is clearly a story based on real events and as such should be read by anyone interested in the American phenomenon, the American dream, and the American reality - at least for some of the immigrants. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a "good read"!
It becomes clear after watching the movie before reading the book that THE GODFATHER novel is better than the movie even though I rank THE GODFATHER movies as one of the best ever. This saga about Corleone Family, gives the best definition of the mafia genre than all the written works that may be known. The character development is unrivalled, the plot is marvelous, the pace is fast, the setting is engrossing and with the complex though fascinating lessons contained within the lines, one gets something close to a catechism. I think that is why Francis Ford Coppola did not have to alter much in the story to produce the movies.
"Behind every great fortune, there is a crime," Wrote the French novelist Balzac. This quote is the forerunner to The Godfather. It takes a short while into the novel to realize that THE GODFATHER transcends being just a novel. Many readers have confessed that it altered their perception of life after reading it. It certainly is a classic with the most influential and deep-cutting influence on the minds of its readers. This novel presents us with the uncommon code and workings of the Mafia. It also explores the lives of the people who are directly or indirectly involved in it. Throughout the novel, one is forced to view Don Corleone as a very good bad man.
Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER is rich with wide-ranging characters as well. There is Don Corleone's first son-the short-tempered Sonny, Fredo the weak-minded second son, Michael the reluctant son with his father's steel-mindedness who ends up to save the family and Connie the baby sister who follows her impulses all the time. Then there is Amerigo Bonasera the dreary undertaker, the wily Genco, the ruthless capo-regimes, the psychopathic but faithful Luca, the cool-headed and loyal adopted Corleone son Tom Hagen, the women who married into the family and come to accept the reality of their new worlds, loving characters that are detestable to the real world. In the end, this novel revolves around Don Vito Corleone and his son, Michael, who like a reluctant disciple finally takes over as the head of the Corleone family.
You will not be happy when you read the last page because you will be wish for more about the lives of the Corleones and their fantastic world. For sure the character of the Don will last long in your mind, because beyond being violent, Don Corleone is portrayed as a kind, considerate, strong, reliable and reasonable, man. In his person is to be found the ideal father, husband, friend, Godfather, son, leader and business man. Fame, power, wealth and common place idealism make this book the great story it has been over the past three decades. DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE is another novel with ingenious characters and an inspiring hero.