Sunday, 14 December 2014

Book Review: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

There are only a few modern books which have enjoyed the cult status that was achieved by “The Godfather” immediately after it was published in 1969. As soon as it was published Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather began setting sales records, becoming the fastest selling book up to its time. Its enormous popularity increased in 1972 when Francis Ford Coppola’s movie version was released. The movie won several Academy Awards, and became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and is frequently cited by critics as one of the greatest American movies ever made The novel has since then consistently stayed in print and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.


The Godfather tells the enchanting story of the Corleone family, headed by Vito Corleone, they are the ruling mafia family of New York City. He is respectfully called the Godfather by the people who love him. The family comprises his three sons namely Sonny, Freddie and Mike. Sonny is the heir apparent for his father’s throne while Freddie is a little simple minded so he isn’t too involved in the family business while initially Mike is completely outside of the family business as he is in the army but he must join it later due to overbearing circumstances. There starts a cold war between the Corleone family and a rival family called the Tattaglia family. While Vito is looking to legitimize his empire, in comes Sollozzo who wants set up his drug dealing business in their region. The Godfather refuses and so begins a war between Sollozzo who is backed by the Tattaglia family and the Corleones.

The novel shows the intricacies of any large criminal organization and plus some of the inner workings in Hollywood and Las Vegas. This book helped define how the world views organized crime in America, framing the aspects of greed and violence that are inherent in the underworld with an emphasis on family, respect, and honour. It has managed to add a new paradigm in modern fiction writing. The character of Vito Corleone, the Godfather, has been compared to Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield as an archetype, a personality so true to the American experience that, though fictional, he seems familiar to everyone. Far beyond being just another crime novel, The Godfather relates to all stories of immigrant families who are trying, over the course of generations, to fit into the mainstream of American life.

Everything about the book seems to have an aura of its own. Dialogues like “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”, have attained cult status and there are many instances of references to the book in popular culture. What the book has very beautifully managed to show is that how, even in the hardest of times and in the most unpleasant of surroundings there are some men, who tread the path less travelled, and who have it in them to turn over the situation in their way. The book is an enthralling read because of the honest human emotions displayed by the author, and also because of the sense of genuineness’ in the story.

I would recommend the book to everyone who has watched the movie, simply because it is hardly possible to show in a 2.5 hour movie what the author had in his mind while writing the book. For those who have neither watched the movie, nor read the book is definitely missing something. Read the book, enjoy it and then watch the movie to re-enjoy the book! The action is fast paced through most of the book with elements from romance to action, from family drama to crime intermixed in a very wonderful manner.
 
A full thumps up to this one!!

Title: The Godfather

Genre: Fiction
 
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (21 Feb 1991)
 
Language: English
 
Paperback: 446 pages
 
ISBN-10: 0099429284
 
ISBN-13: 978-0099429289

Rating: 4/5

[This review was published here.]