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  • Writer's pictureBryce Chismire

The Godfather - Novel

Many of you may know the cinematic three-part masterpiece “The Godfather”, hailed as one of the most memorable artistic achievements of our time, walking away with multiple awards, and with Parts I and II winning, among others, the Academy Award for Best Picture…APIECE.

The book that started it all, published in 1969, was just as sprawling and veiling as it is rich. One half of a chapter into this story and I became sucked in, transported into the realms, the trials, the tribulations, and the ideals of the Corleone Family. With every page turned along the way, I was introduced a great deal to not only the family members themselves, but their allies, their friends, their relatives, their affiliates, even a fair share of their enemies: Don Vito, Mama, Sonny, Fredo, Michael, and Connie Corleone; Tessio, Peter Clemenza, Tom Hagen, Johnny Fontane, Kay Adams, Lucy Mancini, Marco Rizzi, Solozzo, Mark McCluskey, Jack Woltz, Apollonia...we are introduced to their ways of life, and all their struggles to maintain their honor in, out of, or away from the Mafia underworld in New York City. They breathe life into the story as it dives deep into each one of their odysseys, with events ranging from the immigrations from Italy to America in the early 20th century, to the envelopment in the Mafia lifestyle, to exile within the glorious but infected utopia of Sicily, Italy, to all the impactful decisions to be made for the sake of the strength of the Corleone Empire. This all builds up to one of the Corleone members doing the most unanticipatedly dastardly actions…so dastardly, that they chisel the book’s climax into being one of the most chilling I have ever experienced. The writing from Mario Puzo (despite this being the first book I read to be written by him) could not have elevated itself higher than the stinging, long-lasting impressions it left here.

If Wiseguy - which later became of the movie Goodfellas - is the epitome of non-fictional writing about the Mafia, then the original “Godfather” is the epitome of FICTIONAL writing about the Mafia. If you love the Godfather movies, or at least, have not even been familiar with anything “Godfather”-related…like I was - that’s why i wanted to read this book first - then you’ll be treated to a hard-hitting bravado that provides thought-provoking analyses of the Mafia lifestyle, and the cautions thereof. When all is said and done, this review may become, as they say, ‘an offer you can’t refuse’.

PS What book have you read that enveloped you in its world like the Godfather did with me? Or, what book did you read and enjoy in anticipation for its film version?

Originally published on Facebook, December 27, 2016


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